In late April, the Frederick County Association of REALTORS® celebrated its 100th anniversary as an organization with a joyous Platinum Jubilee Gala held at the Great Frederick Fairgrounds Event Plex. This was the signature event in a special year of activity which affords present-day members the opportunity to celebrate the contributions of past realtors in Frederick's history, and how they helped shape the Frederick we enjoy today. Many of these individuals are buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
The Frederick Board of Real Estate was organized on February 8th, 1922 with founding principles created to promote the real estate profession and foster professional behavior in its members (including its own code of ethics) which still reign supreme today. For 100 years, this body, known today as the Frederick County Association of REALTORS®, has demonstrated important leadership in advocacy for a myriad of community issues relating to the real estate trade.
With over 1350 current members, FCAR stands as the county’s largest trade association. Holding tried and true all these years later, the overarching mission is that of serving as the “Voice for the Frederick Property Owner.”
Much discussion and planning would eventually culminate in the organization of a body of this kind in Frederick, Maryland in February 1922. It would be named the Frederick Real Estate Board. The group had received considerable guidance from Baltimore City’s Board of Real Estate and another that had been recently started in Cumberland. The first official announcement would take place at a meeting held on February 9th and the Frederick News shared information about this new group's start and exclaimed:
“Along the lines of recent developments towards the adoption of a more progressive method of doing things for the betterment of the community and conditions in general, the real estate agents of Frederick city and county have organized a real estate board which is in line with similar movements made elsewhere throughout the United States. Like the Chamber of Commerce and the recent campaign in the interest of the new community hotel, this organization is a step forward in the development of a better realty situation and it will reflect a corresponding benefit to the real estate owners and purchasers as well.”
The early goals of this organization included “the promotion and advancement of general real estate and house building interests of the city by cooperative effort; and, where possible, the discouragement and prevention of the introduction of other elements into the community which would have a depreciatory effect upon the surrounding real estate.”
Frederick’s Real Estate Board took aim at cooperating with the Frederick Chamber of Commerce and other civic and business organizations in encouraging public improvements to accommodate property owners and securing an equitable system of taxation.
The new group set out to further promote Frederick as a location for new and desirable business enterprises, while making important strides to rid, or clean-up, existing “dirty industries” for the betterment of the community. Lastly, this body hoped to form equitable rules for the conduct of the various branches of the real estate business upon a high ethical plan. They sought to establish the fact that membership in the organization would be a guarantee of business integrity and responsibility to the general public.
The Frederick Real Estate Board would eventually expand to cover the entire county. In addition, important affiliations would be made between this local Board and both The Maryland Real Estate Board (founded in 1906) and the National Association of Real Estate Boards (founded in Chicago in 1908). In doing this, Frederick’s members received the benefits of experience, advice and best practices from a network of real estate professionals elsewhere in the state, and country. Today, the Frederick Real Estate Board is known as the Frederick County Association of Realtors®.
In the beginning, the initiation cost to become a member was $10, with an additional dues cost of $10/year. The local newspaper of February 9th concluded by saying:
“An organization such as this cannot but result in great good to the community, and an advancement in the way of improvements, not only in the matter of attaining a city beautiful, but in business conditions generally.”
The Inaugural Board
The driving force behind Frederick’s inaugural Real Estate Board was a talented group of experienced Frederick professionals. These 12 gentlemen would meet once a month in one another’s offices on a rotating basis. The first officers included Richard Potts (President), Markwood D. Harp (Vice President), Walker N. Joliffe (Treasurer), Markell H. Nelson (Secretary) and Noah E. Cramer. The latter, Mr. Cramer (1860-1930), had been Frederick’s leading realty professional and a well-respected businessman over the previous few decades.
Noah E. Cramer was in great company with the initial Board of Directors for the Frederick Real Estate organization. Six years earlier, President Richard Potts was involved with the College Park development surrounding Hood College as a liaison of sorts between the West Virginia-based Swastika Realty firm who owned the building lots, the city officials of Frederick, and customers interested in buying into this subdivision. Potts recognized the importance of local knowledge, insight and connectivity. This prompted him to act in advocating for Frederick to have its own Board of Real Estate in the first place.
Although there were those that worked in the field of residential and commercial real estate before 1922, its important at this time to remember those industry pioneers who put the Frederick County Association of Realtors in play back in February, 1922 by organizing the Frederick Real Estate Board. Interestingly, all five founding officers are buried in Frederick's Other City, Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Richard Potts (1873-1945) came from a prominent family who lived in Court House Square. He was the 4th generation to live at the prestigious home located at 100 North Court Street, on the corner of West Church Street, and across from Frederick’s Courthouse Square. His great-grandfather was Richard Potts, a noted politician and leader in Frederick throughout his lifetime.
After receiving an early education at the Frederick Academy, followed by the Episcopal Academy in Alexandria, VA, Mr. Potts went to work as a clerk at the Central National Bank and Trust Company. In 1914, he entered the real estate business, forming a partnership with insurance salesman David O. Griffin. The firm of Potts & Griffin would last for 30 years until 1943, and was headquartered with an office at 27 N. Court Street, just a short distance from Mr. Pott’s home.
Markwood D. Harp
Markwood Doub Harp (1869-1926) was a Frederick County native from Myersville who received his education in the local schools there. He came to Frederick City for professional work and served as Frederick County’s Deputy Register of Wills before becoming Clerk to the County Commissioners. He would leave that position to become a realtor and lived at 313 Dill Avenue (renumbered to 269 Dill Ave today).
Mr. Harp’s brother, Reno S. Harp, was a leading attorney in town. In the Real Estate Board’s second year, Markwood Harp would take the reigns as president. Sadly, Mr. Harp would die just a few years later in late 1926 after a three-week illness attributed to heart trouble. He was 57 years old.
Markwood Harp would be laid to rest in Mount Olivet's Area C/Lot 142. His first wife, Ada C. Adams, had predeceased him in 1905 at the age of 35, leaving Markwood with two sons, Roscoe and Maynard.
A strong sense of solidarity within the Frederick Real Estate Board was exhibited at the time of Mr. Harp's untimely death. The members attended his funeral as a group and a touching memorial was published in the local newspaper. Also of note is the fact that all members replaced their real estate listings in the December 4th, 1926 edition of the Frederick News-Post with tribute memorials.
Markwood Harp's second wife and widow, Bertha Almeta (Kiracofe), would assume his position in selling real estate and insurance after his death. She would work out of her husband's office at the Pythian Castle on Court Street, and was assisted by her daughter. This would make Bertha, Frederick's "first known female real estate and insurance agent." She lived from 1885-1965.
Walker Neill Jolliffe
Walker Neill Jolliffe was born at Clearbrook near Winchester, Virginia in 1876. He grew up on the family farm to Quaker parents. He clerked at two different stores in his native Frederick County, (VA) before coming to Brunswick in 1896 to clerk for the general store of Jones & Robinson. In 1900, Mr. Jolliffe entered a partnership with H. M. Jones, of Brunswick, and in 1904 these gentlemen established a dry goods, clothing, boot, and shoe store in Frederick City.
Immediate success prompted the pair to open a store in Mr. Jolliffe’s native home city of Winchester. He would soon take up residence at 307 Rockwell Terrace. Walker Jolliffe transitioned over to working here in Frederick in the real estate business in 1919 with his brother, John. The two ran an office at 122 North Court Street. Walker Jolliffe would experience success in his newfound field but would die in November, 1931 of tuberculosis shortly after being sent for treatment at the noted asylum in Sabillasville (MD). He would be fondly remembered at the Board of Real Estate’s 10-year anniversary gala in 1932.
Markell Henry Nelson
Markell Henry Nelson (1882-1973) was born on a farm in Mount Pleasant District in 1882. He acquired his education at the Central School and later went on to the Frederick Academy. For years, Mr. Nelson clerked in a store at Sandy Hook, across the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry. Later, he became engaged for a time in the insurance business in Baltimore. In 1908, Markell Nelson bought a mercantile business at McKaig, a small crossroads east of Frederick at the intersection of Gas House Pike and McKaig Road.
Mr. Nelson won election in 1913 to serve in the House of Delegates of the Maryland General Assembly, beginning in 1914. In 1922, he was working as manager of the real estate department for the real estate, mortgage and investment company of John N. Clary with an office at 28 West Patrick Street. In a few years, Nelson would launch his own real estate firm with a business office located at 31 North Court Street.
Noah Edwin Cramer
Earlier in his working career, Noah Edwin Cramer (1860-1930) entered the business world in the dry-goods store of his brother, George L. Cramer. Here, he was employed as a clerk, and he remained with his brother for some time. While still a young man, he re-located to Frederick City, and established himself in the real estate and loan business. From the start, he met with much success, becoming one of the best known and most prominent businessmen of the city by the first decade of the 20th century. Cramer also possessed the general confidence of business and financial circles both here and statewide.
In 1922, Noah Cramer helped champion the Frederick Real Estate Board, while a partner in the firm of Cramer and Stauffer. Besides his real estate and loan business, Mr. Cramer was interested in various enterprises of the county. He also had a pretty interesting home for himself and family—the former home of Maryland governor, Continental Congress member and Revolutionary War veteran Thomas Johnson, Jr. He would also live at 117 Record Street.
Other founding members of Frederick's Real Estate Board in 1922 included John N. Clary (1867-1949), Alfred Wesley Gaver (1876-1940), David Otho Griffin (1884-1954), Grayson Henry Mercer (1879-1945), James Lee Simmons (of Adamstown) (1860-1961), Grayson Hedges Staley (1881-1965) and John Hanson Stauffer, Jr. (1894-1958). All but Gaver are buried in Mount Olivet.
Over this century, this organization has done so much more than its primary role of helping to provide humans with shelter, one of the foremost human necessities. The official mission of the Frederick County Association of REALTORS® is to “support and enhance its members’ professional objectives and adherence to the Code of Ethics. The Association strives to achieve this undertaking by providing quality education for members, promoting professional and ethical behavior, and fostering a positive image within our community.
The Association is committed to the local Frederick community and strives to promote the role of REALTORS® to the public. Members work with legislators to be involved in the political process and protecting property rights. FCAR works closely with Maryland REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® to achieve these goals.”
Happy 100th Frederick County Association of REALTORS®!!!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: To learn more about the history of the Frederick Association of REALTORS®, read my three-part history series by clicking the links below. The story appears on my History Shark Productions website.
What a bad title for an internet blog focusing on cemetery preservation, right? Well, no need to fear, as it is all “tongue in cheek” so to speak. You will see by the end of this piece that I should have titled it “A Fairplay Family.”
So, last we were together, I was waxing poetic about a broken gravestone of a mysterious origin that recently made its way into our fine cemetery. Best of all, it came to us without a burial, or entombment of any kind. We don’t know who the stone belonged to, where it was formerly located, or who made it—but we sure as heck presented some college-educated guesses.
There’s only one way to follow-up a story like that. Yes, I’ve decided to write a story about a family named “Stonebraker.” You heard me correctly—and I promise, in this case, that I have a gravestone in perfect condition, and can identify the decedents that it rests above.
The monument in question is quite robust. It stands in Area G/Lot 139, just across the lane from Mount Olivet’s “Confederate Row.” On the west face of this gravestone, one can find the names of several family members buried below. Topping the list is Daniel K. Stonebraker, born April 15th, 1853 and died on September 9th, 1909. Next, we have Daniel’s wife, Sophie E., who lived from May 17th, 1859-July 22nd, 1924. A son, Samuel E. Stonebraker is also here (January 24th, 1881-September 23rd, 1956), and finally, a daughter, Eleanor E. Stonebraker (February 29th, 1884-November 10th, 1884).
The interesting thing about my consecutive “Stories in (broken) Stone” published in recent weeks is the simple lesson that so much about people can be gleaned from a single hunk of marble, or specifically granite, in this case. Memorializing in monument form “literally” preserves the stories of lives formerly lived, and ironically keeps alive the ability to unlock genealogy and history to the curious person who insists on taking the opportunity and time to learn more. Here, that individual would be me. I relish playing the role as conduit between the stone and you the reader. I want to pass on various findings such as information from books, newspapers, internet sites and cemetery records all triggered by a cooled piece of lava with names and dates carved into it. In conclusion, gravestones are perfect portals to connections galore.
Daniel Knode Stonebraker was born near Fairplay, Washington County, a son of farmer Samuel A. Stonebraker and Sarah Rebecca Knode. The family is German in origin and trace back to Gerald “Garrett” Stonebraker (1742-1813), an early settler of today’s Washington County (which was actually Frederick County up through 1775).
Daniel’s grandfather, Michael Stonebraker, was considered one of the largest landowners in Washington County in the early 19th century. His house remained in the family until 1867 and is located about a half mile south of Bakersville, not far from Fairplay to the north and Downsville to the west. Mercersville is better known as Taylor's Landing today. I would find that the Stonebrakers claimed all these villages as their place of origin.
Daniel’s father, Samuel A. Stonebraker, moved to Baltimore in 1839 and was the founder of the Baltimore Corn and Flour Exchange and also a member of Sterling, Ahrens and Company Sugar Refiners. It appears that the Stonebrakers had residences in both the Fairplay area and Baltimore.
The family farm was situated near the C & O Canal which was a good thing, but was also located just northwest of the main scene of the single bloodiest one-day battle in American history—Antietam. I assume that their land was tramped upon by soldiers and utilized for military camping or caring for wounded.
Daniel’s parents (below), along with a few siblings, are buried with earlier generations in Salem Lutheran Church Cemetery in Bakersville.
Our subject Daniel would marry Sophia “Sophie” English, daughter of James J. English (1818-1880) and Jane Rebecca Hergesheimer (1821-1897), in the year 1880. Sophie was a Frederick girl who attended the Frederick Female Seminary on East Church Street, today’s seat of county government known as Winchester Hall. Sophie’s father was listed as operating a grocery store in 1850, a teacher in 1860, and a justice of the peace in 1870. Her parents are buried here in Mount Olivet in Area C/Lot 67.
I must address the Stonebraker’s other son, Samuel English Stonebraker with the middle initial of E completing the pattern of Sophie giving all four of her children her maiden name.
Born in Downsville (Washington County) in January 1881, Samuel was the first-born child to the young couple. He would go on to practice law and have a successful career in real estate in his adult home of Montgomery County, living in Bethesda and Chevy Chase. He was active on county planning boards there as well.
Daniel and Sophie also had another daughter, and this one survived well into into adulthood. She was named Florence English Stonebraker (1895-1977). Plenty more about her in a moment, but
Back in Frederick, the 1880 census shows the Stonebrakers living at what is today 436 North Market Street. This is the home of the Mirage Hookah Bar and Lounge today, and many of my age may remember the famed appetite oasis of Casa Pizza which regularly helped facilitate late night bar crawls through downtown. The 1880 census shows Daniel and Sophie “pre-Samuel.” The census also lists Daniel’s occupation of that of a confectioner. I would assume this location served as the site of his business, and also was a home residence on the upper floors. I found reference that the building was either altered or rebuilt by son Samuel in the 20th century.
Interestingly, I believe that Mr. Stonebraker was brought to town by his sisters, thus allowing him to meet his future wife in “the City of Clustered Spires.” His sister Alforetta Rebecca (Stonebraker) McCardell (1848-1923) was married to Adrian C. McCardell (1845-1932), another native of Washington County. Mr. McCardell came to Frederick during the Civil War and eventually became prominent in the confectionery business. This man would go on to became a highly successful banker and active civic leader. You may be familiar with Adrian and Alforetta’s talented granddaughter—Claire McCardell Harris (1905-1958), the legendary fashion designer. All three are buried here in Mount Olivet.
Another of Daniel’s sisters with a direct link to Frederick was Emma Alice Stonebraker (1846-1930). I had encountered this woman in an earlier Mount Olivet research pursuit in conjunction with white bronze markers and monuments. Emma was a Frederick resident in the early 1880s as she had married Rev. William Augustus Gring (1838-1889).
Rev. Gring was the son of Daniel Gring, a noted German Reformed Church minister in York County, PA. William Augustus was a native of Pennsylvania, and at the time of his death had charge of the church in Emmitsburg from 1881-89. Just for fun, I learned that Rev. Gring's brother, Ambrose, was the German Reformed Church's first missionary to Japan. The Grings and buried directly behind the Stonebraker stone, however their unique memorials are certainly not crafted from stone, but rather zinc.
The white bronze marker is crafted in the shape of a traditional cross upon a pedestal and contains the name of Rev. Gring’s wife and also, his ten-year old daughter, Vida Rebecca (1875-1885). Emma appears to have been the last individual to have a name placed upon a white bronze marker because she died last (of all decedents) in the year 1930. If you look closely, you can see that Emma’s panel seems out of place as if it had to be specially crafted as the fad of monumental bronze had ended around the time of World War I when the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut had closed.
In 1886, I saw a small article announcing that former residents Daniel K. Stonebraker and family were in town visiting relatives here from their home in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Three years later, the Stonebrakers were living in Northwest Washington, DC. From Washington newspapers I also learned that Daniel was working as an agent of the Wilcox Sewing Machine Company with a store on Pennsylvania Avenue. Unfortunately, Daniel made news with the following unfortunate incident.
In 1900, Daniel was working as an insurance agent, and the Stonebraker family can be found living at 645 Massachusetts Avenue, about six blocks northwest of the White House and a literal stone’s throw from Thomas Circle, named for Union Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas (1816-1870).
In case you are curious (like me), Gen. Thomas won one of the first Union victories in the war, at Mill Springs in Kentucky, and served in important subordinate commands at Perryville and Stones River. His stout defense at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863 saved the Union Army from being completely routed, earning him his most famous nickname, "the Rock of Chickamauga."
Thomas followed soon after with a dramatic breakthrough on Missionary Ridge in the Battle of Chattanooga. In the Franklin–Nashville Campaign of 1864, he achieved one of the most decisive victories of the war, destroying the army of Confederate General John Bell Hood, his former student at West Point, at the Battle of Nashville.
Daniel K. Stonebraker would die in the nation’s capital on September 26th, 1909 at the age of 56. His cause of death given was rheumatism. He would be buried here in Mount Olivet two days later.
Sophie Stonebraker can be found at the same residence on Massachusetts avenue in 1910, but in 1920, the former Miss English lived at 3433 Oakwood Terrace in NW Washington, DC.
Sophia can be found living with daughter Florence, referenced earlier. The two were active in the social scene and circles of DC. Florence was a gifted musician and had employ in several government jobs including serving as a clerk for the Treasury Department.
Mrs. Stonebraker died on July 22, 1924 and would be buried by her husband’s side in Mount Olivet days later. I found her will on Ancestry.com. I learned from other documentation that the former residence/confectionery on North Market Street would remain in Stonebraker family ownership until 1977.
Samuel would join his mother here in Mount Olivet in 1956 upon his death in Bethesda.
That only leaves Florence who was the most surprising “chip off the old Stonebraker block” so to speak. Born in Washington in 1895, Florence is a fascinating character to research, leaving wanting to know so much more.
Florence would spend most of her adult life in California, and can be found living in San Francisco in the 1930 US Census. She particularly sparked my interest by listing her occupation in that census year as that of a literary writer. Florence is said to have married a gentleman with the last name of Stuart, but divorced. This was interesting because I found her divorced in 1930, but married in the census records of 1940 and 1950 He husband in 1940 and 1950 was her supposed husband named William Stonebraker.
This was puzzling, but maybe was it due to her celebrity that he took her name? I can’t see it being a cousin or the coincidence of finding another individual with this name. I’m going with William Stuart, who decided to take his wife’s maiden name as his married name. It is California, after all.
Thus I went down the “Florence Stonebraker rabbit hole,” even though she is not buried here in Mount Olivet. I learned that she received a law degree from George Washington University in 1925 and passed the bar in December of that year. I also had my marriage riddle answered. Apparently Florence married William Morrison Stuart, who took her last name. Supposedly, this gentleman had left his second wife to be with her. They would move to southern California and never had children.
I soon learned that Florence has somewhat of a cult following by historians and enthusiasts of the pulp-fiction genre era. I found the following blog article on a website entited “Reading California Fiction,” by a gentleman named Don Napoli.
“A FLORENCE STONEBRAKER UPDATE
The number of words published by Florence Stonebraker (about 4.4 million) will, of course, never be overtaken by the number published about her. Still, the dearth of information regarding California’s most prolific female novelist is startling. Except for one small entry in a Who’s Who compendium (rewritten for an earlier post), I’ve come up with nearly nothing -- no biographical data from reviews, no dust jacket blurbs, no obituaries. So, I was happy the other day when I returned to Google for another search and found a few tidbits from an online newspaper archive. It turns out that Stonebraker was in Washington as a teenager, played the piano, and performed in some amateur recitals. I also found a blurry newspaper photo that shows her in February 1914 helping to commemorate the deaths of sailors on U. S. S. Maine. Stonebraker was seventeen at the time and probably less than fond of this picture.”
This was an amazing find, and luckily there was an earlier blog about Florence on this very same website. Here it is:
“And now we come to Florence Stonebraker, who once was (I think) one of California’s busiest genre writers. For thirty years—between Pay for Your Pleasure (Phoenix, 1937) and Predatory Woman (Beacon, 1967) —she cranked out more than 80 novels of unsanctioned sex. Married or single, her characters were tempted by, and often surrendered to, their lustful desires. Stonebraker had a conventional side, too, and wrote a couple dozen stories of chaste young women finding love. But her forte was the risqué.
I haven’t done enough research to find out much about Stonebraker’s life. She was born in 1896. She married someone whose surname was Steuart. It’s anybody’s guess what she did before publishing her first book at the age of 41. Her early novels are set on the East Coast, so she may have lived there. She doesn’t start using California settings until the early 1940s, suggesting that she moved west during the war. Her most prolific year was 1952, in which she published eleven novels. She stopped writing in 1967. She was residing in Glendale prior to her death in 1977.
It’s unclear how many of her books are set in California. I’m sure about Private Practice (because I read it) and willing to bet on Frisco Dame and Love Life of a Hollywood Mistress (because of the titles). But I’m guessing the number is much higher. If she lived in the state and wrote a novel every three or four months, then she probably had little time to find exotic locales.
Compiling a list of her novels is not an easy task. The Library of Congress only has hardcovers, all of which she wrote for Phoenix. Jon Warren’s Official Price Guide lists most of the paperbacks. No other library has more than a few of her books, but many are available at Book Finder or similar sites. Adding to the problem is Stonebraker’s fondness for pseudonyms. In addition to writing under her own name, she used Florence Steuart and Fern Shepard for her romances and Florenz Branch and Thomas Stone for her sex stories.”
She wrote eighty books and her most prolific year was 1952, when she penned 11. I loved this part of this week's story, and almost have felt a little dirty in presenting covers of Florence's saucy titles, many of which you can pick up on eBay for yourself—should you feel the desire. I did learn that most of these covers were specially posed by outstanding starlets and models of the day.
As shown earlier through census records for Florence, I found the evocative pulp-fiction novelist living in San Francisco in 1930, Los Angeles in 1935, San Diego in 1940, and Laguna Beach in 1950. A writer must refresh his, or her, surroundings, or so says the guy who consistently writes from the confines of a cemetery.
All I know with certainty is that Florence Stonebraker died in Glendale, CA on August 20th, 1977. I have not found an obituary and the only grave close to what I've been looking for is this final resting place in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens located in London, Middlesex County, Ontario, Canada. Could be too much of a stretch as I was assuming burial in California.
Well, well, well I never saw that coming from the humble family with roots in Washington County. However, you can say that when it comes to genealogy and family history research, everything is in “Fairplay.” When you really think about it, one really shouldn't be all that surprised that one of the country's busiest romance novel writers of the mid-20th century has a direct connection to southern Washington County. Only ten miles east of the old Stonebraker family plantation sits Boonsboro, home to arguably the most prevalent romance writer of all time in Nora Roberts.
April 18th commemorates the 157th anniversary of the death of an individual who I assume is buried here in the friendly confines of Frederick, Maryland, but I certainly cannot verify this as fact. The problem at hand—I don’t even know who this decedent is?
You see, we have half of a vintage, marble gravestone in our possession at the cemetery, but it was found recently in a garage in downtown Frederick. All we know is that this individual was 17 years, 10 months and 15 days at the time of death. That claim is substantiated on the stone, itself, as there is a birth date of June 3rd, 1847 and a death date of April 18th, 1865. Do you think you can help us?
Typically, genealogists, family historians and tombstone tourists experience frustration and dismay when learning that the ancestor they are looking for is in an unmarked grave. Questions arise as to why a stone, plaque or other form of memorial was not placed on the final resting place. In most cases, money was the reason. Single or widowed individuals that were destitute, institutionalized or died intestate make up most of these cases, as some were buried in Potter's fields and others in mass graves.
In other situations, a surviving widow, especially a wife with children, may not have had the means to erect a memorial, needing the money to care for children and self. Still yet, another common cause lies in the fact that a person could have been the last living member of their immediate family, with no heir, next of kin or special friend to make proper arrangements for a monument to adorn a grave.
I have encountered interesting experiences of unmarked graves in my own family history pursuits. One such occurred in 2003, however none of the three reasons above could be blamed as the cause. I presented this cautionary tale in a Story in Stone back in January, 2019 titled: History Researchers Beware!
Here’s a quick synopsis. My father, uncle and cousin spent multiple hours aimlessly walking the grounds of New St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bellmawr, New Jersey (a suburb of Camden, NJ and Philadelphia just across the Delaware River). We were looking for the grave of my Haugh great-grandparents who died in the 1930s/1940s respectively. This odyssey took place on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon in mid-July. Unfortunately, we came up fruitless, "giving up the ghost(s)" so to speak, and cutting our losses. The cemetery office was closed, and all the stones in this Catholic cemetery were uniform in exact shape, size and style. It was a very frustrating experience as we had traveled 2.5 hours to get there.
A call to the New St. Mary’s administration office the following Monday morning shed some surprising news—there was no stone as the Haugh gravesite had always been unmarked. Here was a lot that contained my great grandparents, and to my great surprise, my great-great grandfather Haugh (Irish immigrant/progenitor to America). The plot also contained my great-grandmother’s sister, and a handyman friend.
Since it was unmarked, we felt better about ourselves not being able to find it, however disappointed that we wasted so much time and had a sour experience rather than a positive one which usually accompanies these family history quests.
Lesson learned, as it always is important to plan and research ahead, especially if coming from out of town and visiting on weeknights and weekends where one traditionally would not have access to cemetery staff or databases for guidance. To remedy the situation for future descendants of ours, my father, who died the next year, instructed me to install a stone on the site we had so desperately searched for that hot and muggy day back in 2003. This became a reality in 2005.
Maybe my timing with this story has a connection to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and Easter? In particular, I recall the story of the empty tomb found in all four canonical gospels. The burial of Jesus was done in haste, after his body was removed from the cross and quickly dealt with in keeping with Jewish law. The body was wrapped in fine linens, and placed in a cave crypt outside of Jerusalem. A large stone was employed to seal the cave’s entrance. Jesus’ body lay in the cave, or so it was thought through Friday night, Saturday, and early Sunday—a period of three days, ending with Easter and the Resurrection.
The gospels (MATTHEW 28:3-15, MARK 16:5-8, LUKE 24:4-12, and JOHN 20:2-18) vary a bit as to the next part of the story but a group of women, including Mary Magdalene and possibly St. Mary (Jesus’ mother), went to visit the cave and to their surprise and dismay, the rock had been moved from the entrance, and the body of Jesus was missing. I’m paraphrasing here, but shock and sadness took over the women but this eventually turned to joy when two angels appeared to Mary Magdalene, and then Jesus, himself, revealed himself to his old friend. He told herthat all was well, and that the son of Christ had been resurrected.
So, there’s two circumstances, one of an unmarked grave with decedents within, and another with a marked grave (so to speak) with a missing decedent—due to resurrection of course. Back to our main topic, the conundrum of having a broken monument in hand, with no name of decedent, and no known grave location.
So, where did this gravestone come from? That is a great question!
In early October, 2020, I received a call from my friend and mentor, John Ashbury, one of Frederick’s best historians, and author of several books including the ever important And All our Yesterdays: A Chronicle of Frederick County, Maryland (Diversions Publications, Inc, 1997). John manages several rental properties here in town, and one happens to be on 226 East Church Street. This dwelling is on the south side of the street and backs up to the Frederick Post Office.
John said that he had found a broken tombstone in a detached garage out back. He was readying the property for new tenants, and asked if I was interested in bringing this partial gravestone to a more appropriate home—my workplace of Mount Olivet. John gave me the dimension measurements of said stone, along with the scant data carved on its face. We were both equally perplexed as to who this marker once belonged to, and more so, what was it doing in this property’s garage? John hoped I may be able to solve the riddle with my seasoned research abilities, resources and experience with sleuthing gravestones.
The only thing John was able to share with me was the fact that the gravestone had been in the garage for as long as the current owner (Theresa Mathias Michel) could recall. Superintendent Ron Pearcey and I promptly went over and picked up the artifact and brought it back to the cemetery. We gave it a basic cleaning, and placed it outside our administration office in a mulch bed on the perimeter of the central chapel mausoleum building. It has been here ever since.
Of course, I searched our cemetery database and interment files in the hopes that this gravestone was a simply a duplicate or cast-off associated with one of our 40,000+ inhabitants. I used both the birth date and death date given as the basis of my quest. I knew that when bodies were re-interred here in Frederick’s “Garden Cemetery” from earlier downtown burying grounds, strict rules prohibited the placement of broken or unsightly monuments on our pristine grounds. Most of those stones wound up in the grave hole itself with the decedent. I'm sure others were "adaptively reused" by family in rare cases.
We have plenty of unmarked graves in Mount Olivet, and perhaps this stone was stolen as a prank and subsequently broken? Or perhaps it left the grounds for a repair that was never completed? These situations have happened in cemeteries elsewhere, so why not? There is also the practice of setting memorial stones to an individual whose mortal remains were lost (as in a disaster or warfare such as an MIA), buried elsewhere, or cremated with ashes spread at a location like a forest, canyon, bay or beach.
I specialize in those buried in Mount Olivet cemetery, of which I am historian and historic preservation manager, but I truly can’t verify if this individual is here, or not after a long study. I’ve also tried researching the records of the last surviving original downtown burying grounds in old St. John’s Catholic Cemetery (located between E. Third and E. Fourth Streets). Again, I've had no luck.
I immediately started rifling through other databases such as Findagrave.com and Ancestry.com to check against the two vital dates which I could make out. I also asked my trusted assistant Marilyn Veek to run a property background check in case so we could gain clues for possible family connections to our mystery decedent.
I had found a couple of "people of interest," but nothing definitive. I needed to take a deeper dive into research. Well, the best place naturally was to take a look at old Frederick newspapers. I checked the two local newspapers of 1865 in the Frederick Examiner and the Maryland Union. Unfortunately, I came up empty in regard to obituaries and news stories possibly implicating my 17-year-old decedent. I did, however, have an interesting situation with the Examiner edition of April 26th, 1865 which still casts a cloak of gray on my search not being definitive. Someone had removed out two-thirds of the obituary section before this paper was microfilmed. Could my mystery decedent's obit been summarily clipped on purpose or as collateral damage?
What I did find in the newspapers of mid-late April of 1865 was plenty of coverage relating to a terrible event in our country’s history. Four days prior to our decedent's death date of April 18th, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater. In case you are interested, here is how our local newspaper covered the event in their weekly edition dated April 19th, 1865.
I left the newspaper research angle and next consulted Jacob Engelbrecht’s diary. Many are familiar with this former resident's chronicling of both national and local Frederick events from 1819-1878. Jacob, a tailor by trade, was also the current mayor in spring of 1865 and certainly had his hands full in announcing the horrific news of Lincoln’s death and comforting townspeople in this melancholy time. Mayor Engelbrecht would lead the citizens through the streets of town in a solemn mourning procession.
I found nothing in Engelbrecht's book regarding our subject at hand. I wasn't all too surprised as I'm sure our famed diarist was quite occupied in mind, body and spirit on the day of April 18th, 1865 when our decedent breathed his or her last breath.
I soon received a new direction to go as Marilyn now shared with me a long list of property owners dating far before our stone’s death and birth dates. She went the extra step and gave me the unfortunate news that based on census record research, none of the late 19th century owners (Ritter, Miller, Cramer, Fahrney) had children who would have been the right age to have died in the time period when each (family) owned the house.
To give an idea of one property’s ownership over time, here is a list of owners of this parcel located at 226 E. Church Street. It begins with most recent and goes to the earliest when Tasker's Chance was developed into Frederick Town. The first number on each line is the Courthouse folio locator, followed by the date of deed transfer, and then seller to buyer.
5389/63 (2005) Theresa M Michel to Michel Property Management LLC
1220/967 (1983) PR of Emma Aumen to Theresa Michel
481/282 (1949) Bruce and Evelyn Aumen to Emma Aume
380/578 (1931) Frank L Stoner to Lillie Aumen
380/578 (1931) Lillie Auman to Frank Stoner
368/289 (1928) Ada and Allen Lampe to George and Lillie Aumen
HWB 310/566 (1915) J Welty Fahrney and wife to Uriah Lough (who gave to his daughter Ada Lampe)
HWB 308/274 (1913) Peter and Katie Fahrney to J Welty Fahrney
AF 7/162 (1883) George Wm and Mary Cramer to Peter D Fahrney
CM 3/419 (1869) Jos G and Sarah Miller to Geo Wm Cramer
JWLC 4/42 (1866) J Alfred and Catharine Ritter to Joseph Miller
ES 3/55 (1853) Charles Mantz surviving partner of Charles A Gomber and trading under the name style and firm of Gomber & Mantz and Mary Mantz, wife of Charles Mantz, to J Alfred Ritter
WBT 7/184 (1848) Peter and Mary Goodmanson to Gomber & Mantz
HS 16/120 (1842) Henry Lare to Peter Goodmanson
HS 11/99 (1840) Caspar Quynn to Henry Lare
HS 7/303 (1838) George Rice as trustee of Samuel B Lewis to Casper Quinn
JS 33/336 (1829) Charles Peters to Samuel B Lewis- the NE quarter of original lot 276
WR 17/559 (1798) Abraham Adams from Allen Quynn, trustee of Valentine Adams deceased - lot 276
J/367 (1764) Daniel Dulany to Valentine Adams - lot 276
I have included the property ownership in its entirety for your viewing pleasure as Marilyn took it back to the very beginning with Frederick founder Daniel Dulany selling to Valentine Adams in 1764. We have Mr. Adam’s grandson of the same name buried here in Area H/Lot 326—Valentine Adams (1799-1860).
The stone could be connected with any of those listed after our mystery decedent’s death in 1865. I took particular interest in the house’s ownership by Charles Mantz who apparently held the property from 1853-1866 in connection with a Charles Gomber. The Mantz family goes back to the 1740s here in Maryland.
I took particular interest in this information because the Mantz and related Gomber families may provide the key to the gravestone’s presence simply because they owned the property through the lifetime of our mystery decedent. Another factor also plays heavy on my mind as the Mantz and Gomber families buried their dead in a small family burying ground that had been located along Klinehart’s Alley at West Fourth Street.
This sacred ground once held the mortal remains of Mantz and Gomber ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. Peter Mantz and John Gomber along with many other relatives would be relocated here to Mount Olivet after its opening in 1854. Perhaps the broken stone has a connection to the Mantz Graveyard? Most , if not all, of the bodies came to Mount Olivet, but a definitive record of the Mantz graveyard does not exist to my knowledge. (Note: click here to read more about the Mantz Cemetery).
As for Charles Mantz, he ran a hardware store, found in the 1859 William’s Directory. He lived from 1807-1879 and his wife, Mary, lived from 1816-1860. Both are buried here in Mount Olivet up on Area E/Lot 134. There was a relationship, both familial and business-wise, between Mr. Mantz and cousin Charles A. Gomber (1805-1849). Both bought the house at 226 E. Church together in 1848, the year prior to Mr. Gomber’s death. This latter gentleman is also buried here in an adjoining lot to Mr. Mantz (Area E/Lot 136). As a side note, since we are talking about gravestones, I find both to be beautiful examples of craftsmanship, but neither exhibiting the same style of the stone we are searching for in terms of owner.
Did the Mantz family or associated members live on the premises of 226 East Church? Or was it used for some business related purpose? I don’t have any answers, but spent several hours this week trying to uncover a connection. The Mantz family appears to have lived closer to Courthouse Square and West Church Street.
I searched each of these folks in our Mount Olivet database and did not find anyone to fit our vital date description. My best bet was 13 year-old Mary Elizabeth Mantz listed in 1860. I would find that she married a gentleman named Samuel Bean (1840-1883) and moved west. In doing internet research, I stumbled upon an archive at the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center in Laramie. Attached to the library aide finder info online, I found the following abstract which holds a great deal of information on Charles' children who had moved westward including the fore-mentioned Mary:
"The Mantz family settled in Frederick, Maryland, around 1747. Charles Mantz (1807-1879) lived his entire life there and with his wife Mary Ann had children Isabel, Laura, Emma, Mary E., John E., Charles Gomber and Horatio McPherson ("Makie"). Charles G. Mantz (1853-1924) began his career as a bookkeeper in Omaha, Nebraska, was involved in the cattle business in Wyoming, conducted an investment and loan business in Fort Collins, Colorado from 1884-1892, and finally settled in Denver, Colorado. He married Caroline E. Armstrong, daughter of Andrew Armstrong of Fort Collins in 1891, and had children Charles A., Florence and Anna E. Mantz. Charles A. Mantz (1892-1970) was a successful Denver attorney. Horation McP. Mantz was a cattle dealer in Rock Creek, Wyoming in the 1880s.
Isabel Mantz married Dr. John Johnson; Emma Mantz married a Mr. Hottel; and Mary E. Mantz married Samuel Bean (1840-1883). Bean was involved in various business partnerships with Hottel, George Bean, Charles G. Mantz, and Horatio McP. Mantz in Omaha, Nebraska."
Mr. Bean is buried in Omaha's Mount Prospect Cemetery under a prestigious monument, but Mary's gravesite is not listed, at least on Findagrave and Ancestry.com. I conjecture the possibility of a remarriage or her name not being inscribed on her husband's monument. She's not the first person to not have a stone marking her gravesite now is she?
Back to Frederick, Maryland, it also appears that Charles A. Gomber’s brother, Ezra Mantz Gomber, could have lived directly behind this property with a home that fronted on East Patrick Street at one time. In the 1860 Williams Directory, I found Ezra's widowed wife, Margaret, and daughters Minerva and Sarah who would both marry and live long lives.
After combing through the Mantz and Gomber families, I realized that I should give the Ritters a good once over as they were really the ones that lived at 226 East Church Street in 1865, selling a year later. The family is buried in Mount Olivet as patriarch John Alfred Ritter (1822-1892) was a prominent businessman/grocer in town. In seeing the grave lot, I was intrigued with the fact that there is a large, group stone with multiple family members names. Could this have served as a replacement for an individual stone originally erected for a family member?
The 1860 was also a tease as Mr. Ritter had a daughter in 1860, Ann, who was 12 in 1860. I excitedly thought to myself, "Wait a minute, hold the phone!," this young lady would be 17 years-old in 1865! I next searched Ancestry.com for the Ritters in the 1870 census, selfishly hoping not to find her with the family, although I knew she could also be married at the time. When I came to the record, I found the following.
Drat, she was alive and well to my immediate dismay! Ann S. Ritter wasn't my stone recipient and would go on to marry Samuel I. Thompson. I did find that she would die in 1891, and is buried in Mount Olivet's Area G under a fine granite monument. Feeling guilty over my ill-will towards this lady, I do want to express here that despite a miraculous discovery in connection with the identity of my stone holder, I am very pleased that the former Miss Ritter experienced an additional 26 years of life in this world instead of passing on April 18th, 1865.
My only other thoughts revolved around the stone coming from any of the old cemeteries around town. As said earlier, if it was broken, Mount Olivet wouldn’t accept it. An old burying ground existed a short distance away in the form of the “new” or second burying ground of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. This was on the southwest corner of East Street and East Church Street extended within the friendly confines of today’s Everedy Square office and retail center. I’m thinking that the stone could have been excavated at the time the Everedy Company took form in the early 1900s, or when the property was adaptively re-used by Bert Anderson in the latter part of the century. Maybe the curious marble piece was simply put to use as a sturdy doorstop or wheel chock?
Henry C. August Schraeder (1823-1889), was here through the Civil War era that much is known and he would marry Mary Zentmeyer of Wolfsville in 1856. August can be found in the 1860 US Census with his wife, infant daughter and has his mother-in-law and sisters-in-law Eliza and Lena) living with him. Lena Zentmeyer, age 13 in the census record, makes her a candidate for being 17 in 1865.
I did a little search into August' father-in-law, Jacob Zentmeyer (1784-1854), and found him to be buried in St. Mark's Lutheran Graveyard in Wolfsville. His wife Mary (b. 1796) would join him there in 1876. The method to my madness was in looking at the gravestones of these individuals. As you can see, the style is very similar to our mystery stone. Could they be the work of son-in-law August Schraeder?
Unfortunately, I could not locate a census record for either Lena Zentmeyer in 1870 as she is not living with August and his two Marys. She could have died prior to 1870, or got herself married. By this time, August had moved to Baltimore and eventually lived in the Federal Hill neighborhood, not far from today's Camden Yards. Mr. Schruder/Schraeder/Schroeder was working as a porter in a store and apparently not cutting gravestones.
August' wife, Mary, died in Baltimore in 1875 and he would marry a second time. This woman, Johanna Schraeder (1842-1894) is buried in Mount Olivet next to her first husband, Carl P. Adolph Lauer (1820-1874), in Area H/Lot 264.
Could August Schruder/Schraeder be related to Frederick Schroeder the carpenter, coffin-maker and undertaker. I think they were brothers and a business relationship between both gentleman is not far-fetched. It does not explain the letters found on our stone, however.
As for the "ke" (possibly "lke")as the last letters of Schraeder's business partner carved on the stone, my mind keeps telling me the name"Roelkey," which could have been spelled Roelke. There were several leading businessmen, of this name in town, all related, and all immigrants from Hesse-Cassel and practically the same age as August Schruder/Schraeder. Some of these Roelkeys specialized in metal work, and early monuments depended on iron pins to hold the dye part of the grave monument upright. Also no strangers to grave plots, iron fencing was regularly used to enclose family lots. I venture the guess that this could possibly have been a short-lived, co-partnership between these individuals whose name could have been spelled dozens of ways.
Another fail on my part I guess, as I'm pretty close, but yet so far away. If I found the maker, I would have a good geography lead and I could take solace in knowing who made our broken stone and what local cemeteries could it have been destined for. But then again, there is the real chance that this stone could simply be a dud, a throwaway and castoff. It could have been originally inscribed with a spelling error or wrong date? Perhaps it was dropped or broke at the monument works, or en-route to a cemetery? These are real possibilities as well that would render a slab of marble like this useless for memorialization, but perfect for wagon ballast, a solid foundation for something, or a stepping stone of sorts. We will likely never know, but at least it's residing now in a cemetery—a place it was made to be.
I do, however, believe this stone marked a specific grave at one time. If you look close at the photo above, you will note this breaks on the lower right base of the gravestone. This is common as the iron pins that hold the upright dye (main stone panel) will expand and contract if affected by water. This usually happens to older stones that have become tilted or leaning because of ground shift and movement beneath. This eventually leads to the pin rusting and becoming brittle. A good wind, or continued fight against gravity while leaning will snap the pin right off. Note the rust discoloration and trace of a broken pin still within the stone.
This whole exercise has been somewhat like an Easter Egg hunt without the sweet treat at the end. My wish for a "resurrection" of this stone in our cemetery, or another, will have to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. Regardless, may the person, whom the stone was originally made, be resting in peace, whoever, and wherever, they may be.
Inspiration for these “Stories in Stone” comes in various forms. It could be a picturesque monument, or perhaps a familiar personage of Frederick’s past. There are unique names to be researched, while sometimes this same research causes me to stumble upon an interesting happening, or tragic event.
When embarking on these history explorations to learn more about an individual, I always brace for enlightenment because I never know where the journey may take me. I love learning about other places and events outside of Frederick, but my favorite topics are those that connect to Frederick somehow. Of course, I get that chance automatically when connecting the dots to anyone buried in our historic Mount Olivet Cemetery.
For this particular edition, my eye was recently caught by the mention of a strangely-named town on a stone—one I was certainly not familiar with, but perhaps many of our readers may be. The moniker is carved into a large monument that can be found in Mount Olivet’s Area C, one that today offers a commanding view of the Grove Stadium parking lot and, on any given evening without a baseball game, showcases dozens of young people learning how to parallel park with the help of driving school instructors.
The geographical municipality that has sparked my interest is known as Rapid City, Dakota. This is the info offered on one of the customized, epitaph panel sides (of the monument) in conjunction with a five-year-old decedent named Eugenie Goff who died on January 23rd, 1887. To further pique my curiosity, I wondered which “Dakota” contained Rapid City, as this is all the stone and our cemetery records told me.
In doing some state geography exploration, I soon learned that the Dakota Territory consisted of the northernmost part of the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, as well as the southernmost part of Rupert's Land, which was acquired in 1818 when the boundary was changed to the 49th parallel. The name “Dakota” refers to the Dakota branch of the Sioux tribes which occupied the area at the time. Most of Dakota Territory was formerly part of the Minnesota and Nebraska territories.
When Minnesota became a state in 1858, the leftover area between the Missouri River and Minnesota's western boundary fell unorganized. That would soon be remedied. The Territory of Dakota eventually became an organized, incorporated territory of the United States on March 2nd, 1861. This would last until November 2nd, 1889, when the final extent of the reduced territory was split and admitted to the Union as the states of North Dakota and South Dakota. Our pivot point, little Eugenie Goff, died nearly three years earlier in January 1887.
Rapid City is the second most populated city in South Dakota and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek, where the settlement developed, it is in southwestern South Dakota, on the Black Hills' eastern slope. Today, Rapid City is known as the "Gateway to the Black Hills" and the "City of Presidents" because of the life-size bronze president statues downtown. The city's western and eastern parts are split by a low mountain range.
I rapidly learned that this town is home to Ellsworth Air Force Base, and boasts a bevy of tourist attractions such as Art Alley, Dinosaur Park, the City of Presidents walking tour, Chapel in the Hills, Storybook Island, and Main Street Square. The historic "Old West" town of Deadwood is nearby as well. In the neighboring Black Hills are the tourist attractions of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, and the museum at the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research. To the city's east is Badlands National Park.
Let’s get back to Eugenie Goff. Her life was but a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things: "5 years, 3 months and 8 days" as is inscribed on her “tombstone” panel. So how, or why, did this little girl die in early 1887? And why was she buried here in Frederick, as opposed to her native home in today’s South Dakota—a distance of 1,565 miles away?
Eugenie Darlenie Goff was born October 15th, 1881, the daughter of George Henry Goff and wife, Grace Christine Erickson. Neither of Eugenie’s parents were natives of the Dakota Territory. Mr. Goff, born in 1845, hailed from Warren, Rhode Island which I found is the smallest city, in the smallest county (Bristol) in the smallest state in the US. He was the son of a cabinetmaker from Massachusetts (Hiram Goff), but lost his father at the time he was 14 years old. His mother, Martha Galusha (Smith) Goff (b.1815), continued raising her son and a daughter, Elizabeth Eugenia (b. 1841), into adulthood. They lived in the home of Martha’s widowed father, Jonathan Smith, in Warren, Rhode Island.
Apparently, George began his sojourn west somewhere in the 1860s, but I failed to find if he participated in military duty during the American Civil War. He was enumerated in the 1865 Massachusetts state census and found living in Springfield, roughly two hours northwest of his native Warren, Rhode Island.
Two years later, we find George in Lincoln, Wisconsin getting married to a woman named Ellen J. Oliver. Kudos to my research assistance Marilyn Veek for finding this missing puzzle piece as the gap exists for Mr. Goff and the 1870 census on most family trees. The research difficulty level comes with the spelling of "Goff" as "Gough."
For one reason or another, the marriage fizzled as Ellen J. (Oliver) Goff married Oliver Hollenbeck in Lincoln (WI) in 1873. George eventually can be found in Eau Claire, Wisconsin at which place he would marry Grace Christine Erickson on August 30th, 1876. The new Mrs. Goff was a Norwegian immigrant who had come to this country with her parents in 1872, eventually settling in Wisconsin.
I had difficulty tracking the young couple’s movements in the late 1870s into the 1880s. I deducted from a later census that George and Grace stayed in Wisconsin at least until after the birth of their first son, Charles A. Goff in August of 1879. The trio moved to the Dakota Territory sometime before 1881, and the birth of Eugenie.
The public discovery of gold in 1874 by the Black Hills Expedition, led by George Armstrong Custer, brought a mass influx of European-American miners and settlers into this region of the Dakota Territory. A group of unsuccessful miners founded Rapid City in 1876, trying to create other chances for their fortunes. It was eventually named for the spring-fed Rapid Creek that flows through it. The frontier village was promoted near and far as the "Gateway to the Black Hills.”
The land speculators measured off a square mile and designated the six blocks in the center as a business section. Committees were appointed to recruit prospective merchants and their families to locate in the settlement. Such merchants soon began selling supplies to miners and pioneers. The city's location on the edge of the Plains and Hills and its large river valley made it a natural hub for the railroads that were constructed in the late 1880s from both the south and east.
The Goffs were cattle farmers, as far as I can tell, but perhaps George began as a merchant, tradesman or speculator in keeping with the narrative of Rapid City? Regardless, having railroad access readily available, or should I say, “rapidly available” in their new home, it’s easy to see how the Goff family traveled to Frederick in advance of their daughter’s untimely death in early 1887. But, why did they come here in the first place?
The answer likely lies in my theory that the Goffs were visiting family here in Frederick for, or immediately following, the Christmas and New Years holidays. You see, George’s mother, Martha, would eventually remarry a Frederick resident, a widower named Alexander Woodward (1821-1910). They met in Chicago as Mr. Woodward had volunteered his services to help rebuild the city after the devastating fire of October, 1871. Mr. Woodward was a brick mason turned greengrocer who lived at the northeast corner of W. 4TH and N. Bentz streets. I’m placing this as the property at 133 W. 4th today.
Eugenie’s obituary is brief, but her illness seems to have come about quickly. I found scant information this in the January 24th edition of the Frederick News.
As the article recounts, her funeral was the following day after her death, and our cemetery records suggest that she was actually placed in our public vault, and awaited burial at a later time when there were more favorable conditions due to weather and frozen ground, minus the modern era digging equipment that would come in subsequent years. Once interred in the Woodward family lot in Area C, she joined Alexander Woodward’s first wife (Ellen).
Upon the monument panel that reveals Eugenie’s place of origin (Rapid City) and vital dates, one can see inscribed a quote that reads:
“Oh Lord, what is life? It’s like a flower, we see it flourish for an hour, with all its beauty on, but death comes like a wintry day and cuts the beautiful flower away.”
I found that this to be a portion of a popular hymn attributed to British poet Jane Taylor (1783-1824). Taylor was also a novelist, and this particular verse was popularly used on quilted samplers during the 1800s. Jane Taylor is best known for the lyrics of the widely known "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” I was fascinated by this poignant line in respect to a little girl, whose life and death can be personified by a flower. It’s just so “Victorian,” perfectly illustrating the rural, garden cemetery style that Mount Olivet was originally designed to portray.
I read that Taylor’s poem was in part inspired by the bible’s second verse of the Book of Job, Chapter 14. In case you are curious, Job 14 goes as follows:
“We are all human beings.
Our life is short and full of trouble.
2 Our life is like a flower that grows quickly and then dies away.
Our life is like a shadow that is here for a short time and then is gone.
3 God, do you need to keep an eye on something so small?
Why bother to bring charges against me?
4 “No one can make something clean from something so dirty.
5 The length of our life has been decided.
You alone know how long that is.
You have set the limits for us and nothing can change them.
6 So stop watching us; leave us alone,
and let us enjoy this hard life until we have put in our time.
7 “There is always hope for a tree.
If it is cut down, it can grow again.
It will keep sending out new branches.
8 Its roots might grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the dirt,
9 but with water, it will grow again.
It will grow branches like a new plant.
10 But when a man dies,
he becomes weak and sick, and then he is gone!
11 Like a lake that goes dry
or a river that loses its source,
12 so people lose their lives,
never to live again.
The skies will all pass away
before they rise from death.
The skies will all disappear before
anyone wakes up from that sleep!”
With limited space on a monument face, the quote used certainly conveys the point at hand in a swift and dare I say rapid, way. I next started to look at other people buried in this grave plot of Area C/Lot 88. This exercise ultimately allowed me to better see the relationships of decedents buried within. In addition to Eugenie’s panel on the principal family monument found at this site, the other three sides correspond to her step-grandfather, Mr. Woodward, along with his first wife, Ellen (Burrall) Woodward, and Eugenie’s paternal grandmother Martha (Smith) (Goff) Woodward.
Surrounding the monument are the graves of Alexander Woodward’s son William and adult daughters—Sarah Catherine Fraley and Mary Jane Lewis. Mrs. Lewis’ husband, George Thomas Lewis (1842-1915), a former Union soldier in the Civil War, is also buried here, as is her sister-in-law and mother-in-law. The Lewis' were former residents of Leesburg, VA.
One additional person of special interest is residing here as well. This is the namesake for little Eugenie Goff— Eugenie Elizabeth Goff. As mentioned previously, Miss Goff was George H. Goff’s older sister and lived out her life in Frederick with her mother and step-father (Mr. Woodward). Our cemetery records note that she served as a housekeeper, and likely caretaker, for Mr. Woodward following her mother’s death in 1893. I found them living at 409 N. Market Street in the 1900 US Census. Street numbers have changed and this would be 209 N. Market today which is likely the building that serves home to Bushwaller's Tavern today, or the building to the immediate north of it at.
By this same year of 1900, Rapid City had survived a boom and bust and was developing as an important regional trade center for the Upper Midwest. However, I found the Goff family living elsewhere in a place called Maxwell in Meade County, South Dakota.
This locale is in a neighboring county named for Gen. George G. Meade, who by the way, was given charge of the Union Army of the Potomac here in Frederick just mere days before the Battle of Gettysburg.
Meade County is located in the ranching area of western South Dakota, and I’m assuming that this was the farming performed by the Goffs. The county is the largest in the state, encompassing more than two million areas and surpasses the states of Delaware and George H. Goff’s native Rhode Island in land size.
In addition to the agriculture industry, Meade County can boast of having Ellsworth Air Force Base in its southern boundary adjacent Rapid City and nearby Box Elder, SD. Meade County’s county seat is Sturgis, known for the annual motorcycle rally and home to Fort Meade Veterans’ Administration Medical Center. This VA facility transitioned from one of our country's earliest frontier cavalry posts which was home to both the Fourth and Seventh cavalries. It was at this very military installation that the “Star-Spangled Banner” was first required to be played.
Well, aside from learning the colorful history and geography of Meade County, I couldn’t find the village or environs of Maxwell anywhere on a map. The area of the famed Badlands is quite desolate and population centers are far and few. As I explored further, I actually found a location named Goff Ranch near a place noted as Mud Draw on a Google map. Maxwell and Mud Draw sound a bit similar, and I think this could be it because I found an obituary of one of George and Grace’s other children who was born on a ranch homestead near the Tepee Creek, adjacent the Cheyenne River.
This property was recently for sale and was listed as being 2600 acres in the Badlands and located where the prairie begins, just a few miles northeast of Black Hills. I’m assuming the accompanying photo paints a nice picture of the Goff Ranch.
I found next to nothing on the Goffs in South Dakota, but due to them basically "living off the grid," it really comes as no surprise. I did find an article in the Frederick newspaper in 1891 that must have entertained the local citizenry here.
I next set out searching for White Owl, also in Meade County, South Dakota, which contains the final resting places of Eugenie Goff’s parents. This is about a 30-minute drive (26.5 mi) via SD-34 E and County Hwy MC-39 if you are ever inclined to make the trip.
Talk about remote, White Owl is an unincorporated rural village in east central Meade County, South Dakota, United States, with a population of 61 as of the 2010 census. It lies along Highway 34, 55 miles east of Sturgis. White Owl was established in 1890, and opened as the first post office in Meade County in 1893. At an elevation of 2,792 feet, the village today boasts a Baptist church, a community center, post office and oddly enough, a renowned fashion boutique. Most important for our storytelling purposes, here is also where one will find the White Owl Cemetery.
A remote and tranquil place, this is the eternal repository for the mortal remains of George Henry and Grace Christine (Erickson) Goff. Judging from the photos found on FindaGrave.com, the burying ground certainly oozes that rustic, frontier charm. White Owl Cemetery is roughly 1,554 some miles from Mount Olivet—the separation from a child’s grave to her parents. I’m sure for the Goffs, it must have been a true comfort knowing that Eugenie’s grandmother and aunt could easily visit their little daughter’s gravesite, perhaps to place flowers as well.
As for Miss Eugenia Elizabeth Goff and her stepfather, Alexander Woodward, the two would die just seven months after George Henry Goff who died in August, 1909. Interestingly, both individuals would die exactly two weeks apart in March, 1910.
Thanks to the work of Findagrave.com and Ancestry.com volunteers and family historians, I learned a bit more about the lives of Eugenie’s six siblings. In contrast to her own short life, most of these lived to be quite old, a cruel irony I’d have to admit. There is Arthur Henry Goff (1892-1978), a World War I vet who died at age 86. Another sibling, Clarence Galusha Goff (1886-1981) participated in World War I, but reached the ripe old-age of 94, as did kid sister Adelaide D. (Goff) Quinn who is buried near her parents in White Owl cemetery.
Nellie (Goff) Tivis is also interred in White Owl, as she lived to be 102 (1883-1985). Not to be outdone, brother Charles Alexander Goff (1879-1983) attained 103 years on planet Earth. “Charley,” as he was known, was born in Wisconsin as earlier mentioned, and had accompanied his sister Eugenie upon her ill-fated trip to Frederick in 1887. I would learn that he had a special connection his youngest sister, Martha “Mattie” E. (Goff) Newcombe (1899-1997), 20 years his junior.
While living along Tepee Creek, Mattie’s oldest brother (Charley) apparently put her on a horse at the tender age of 3. This led to a lifetime love of horses as Mattie successfully began riding broncs, and later parlayed her natural talent into trick and relay riding, becoming extremely good at both and billed as a "World Champion Trick Rider." The self-taught horsewoman participated in her first major event in 1921 in Sioux Falls.
Mattie (Goff) Newcombe standing on her horse with the moniker of “South Dakota’s Girl Trick Rider” was named All Around Cowgirl in 1927, the same year she performed for President Calvin Coolidge during his summer stay in the Black Hills.
In 1927, she married a neighborhood cowboy, Maynard Newcombe and became a true ranchers' wife in eastern Meade County. She would retire riding professionally in the 1930s but is forever enshrined by a museum she helped create in Fort Pierre, South Dakota. This is the Mattie Goff Newcombe and Casey Tibbs Center—a facility that hosts both an event arena and multi-purpose conference center. It also includes a historical museum devoted to the riding and rodeo sport of South Dakota. The museum displays many of Mattie Goff Newcombe’s belongings and memorabilia from her days as a trick rider.
Mattie Newcombe was one of the first inductees and charter members of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1961. She was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1989 and was elected to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Texas in 1994. In 1995, she received the Pioneer Award from the Black Hills Stock Show. Mattie passed away in July, 2005 at what newspapers said was the age of 98. However, in seeing her age in various census records from the early 20th century, I have her born in December, 1899, making her 105 by my calculations. Now that’s a trick as impressive as her riding stunts!
Both Mattie and Charley are buried in Elm Springs Cemetery in Elm Springs, South Dakota about a half hour ride to White Owl and the old family homestead.
We can only imagine the life experiences that little Eugenie Goff could have experienced in the wild west had she not passed at the tender age of five. It again harkens the question to be asked, “What is life?” We are all delicate flowers, and like flowers, and cattle for that matter, some are just hardier than others I guess.
Well April Fool’s Day has come and gone once again, and I wracked my brain trying to find a timely story to tell about someone in our cemetery, but settled on a decedent who wasn’t a fool or deceiver, but did spend a portion of his career “clowning” around.
Speaking of April Fool’s Day, I came across an interesting connection to Ukraine which I seem to recall has been in the news a time or two here of late. Aside from this year I assume, April Fools' Day has been widely celebrated in the city of Odessa with the special, local name Humorina. This holiday arose in 1973 and involves April Fool pranks being revealed by saying "Pervoye Aprelya, nikomu ne veryu" — which means "April the First, I trust nobody" — to the recipient. The festival includes a large parade in the center of the city, free concerts, street fairs and performances. Festival participants dress up in a variety of costumes and walk around the city fooling around and pranking passersby.
One of the traditions on April Fools' Day is to dress up the main city monument in funny clothes. Humorina even has its own logo — a cheerful sailor in a lifebelt — whose author was an artist named Arkady Tsykun. During the festival, special souvenirs bearing the logo are printed and sold everywhere. Since 2010, April Fools' Day celebrations include an International Clown Festival and both celebrated as one.
April Fools and Clowns remind me of a recent visit I made to see my uncle in Delaware last fall. He told me in advance that he had found a very special family heirloom for me. I was quite intrigued as the official family historian. My uncle Bob lives in his childhood home in Delaware City, Delaware. My late father spent most of his childhood here as well, and is buried in a cemetery directly across the street. The basement of this one-story rancher is an eclectic storage pit of items from my father and family’s past— half represent family treasures, while the other half contains junk.
On this particular sojourn, I would soon find myself in possession of a custom art piece, estimated to be at least 70 years old, and created by my father’s own hands! This was from a short-lived period in which my father took up painting as a hobby. From having a few of his other pieces, he was no Michelangelo or Florence Doub, but he wasn’t all that bad. My brother has an old barn painting that he did, and I have an original Edwin A. Haugh masterpiece in the form of a rendering of my GGG Grandmother’s house in Delaware City. This framed piece hangs prominently over my home office computer desk.
This was the introduction my uncle gave me as he handed to me what seemed to be a framed object, roughly 17"x21" and cloaked in a plastic, black trashbag. I excitedly opened the bag and removed my prize. To my shock and chagrin, I was somewhat horrified to see the subject of this vintage artwork. It was a clown, and a creepy one at that! I looked closer and eerily saw features of my dad in the piece, which made me wonder (or question) the piece even more.
I felt as if this gifting by my uncle was at least in the spirit of April Fool’s Day. Either way, it’s safe to say that I was definitely “clowned” as the kids say these days. On my two-hour trip home from Delaware, I resisted the urge to throw the clown art out the car window at multiple times starting at the point I crossed the Millard Tydings bridge, and ending as I crossed the I-70 bridge over the Monocacy, just east of Frederick.
I guess you could say that I’m simply not a big fan of clowns. I understand their purpose, and respect their acting ability and stunts in accompanying circuses, a thing of the past these days of course. I just try not to think about them in my day to day activities, all-the-while knowing that I could see a group of 20-30 piling out of a Volkswagen Beetle anywhere I go. As for my clown artwork, it has been conveniently tucked away between a file cabinet and wall in my basement. I pulled it out the other day for the sole purpose of this story, and nothing more.
Actually, I took up a special interest in clowns a few weeks back in preparing a lecture on Mount Olivet ties to St. Patrick’s Day. This was for a Friends of Mount Olivet soiree event we held at the Key Chapel back on March 17th. I was interested in learning the background of 10 distinctly Irish names, and finding examples of each here buried within Mount Olivet.
One of these was Thomas Joseph O’ Neill (1879-1944), whose final resting place can be found in Area X/Lot 27.
I looked in our cemetery’s electronic database and found the following entry for this gentleman:
Occupation: Brush Maker. Thomas was born in Portland, Maine. For several years he was employed as a clown by the Ringling Brothers Circus. He died at the YMCA where he resided for about 20 years.
I was intrigued, primarily because this gentleman worked as a clown, but more so, he was an entertainer associated with the legendary Ringling Brothers Circus. I immediately wanted to learn more about the origins of this famed touring company as I had seen the Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Brothers Circus on two different occasions in my childhood. I found the following background on the Wikipedia website for the Ringling Brothers, and their eventual affiliation with legendary showmen Hachaliah Bailey and P. T. Barnum:
"Hachaliah Lyman Bailey (1775 – 1845) was the founder of one of America's earliest circuses. In 1808, he purchased an Indian elephant which he named "Old Bet" and which was one of the first such animals to reach America. With "Old Bet" as its main attraction, he formed the Bailey Circus, which also included a trained dog, several pigs, a horse and four wagons. This was the impetus for what in time evolved into the Bailey component of what became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus."
In 1837, Bailey moved from his home in Somers, NY to Northern Virginia, buying the land surrounding the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Columbia Pike in Fairfax County, Virginia near Falls Church, Virginia. The intersection of these two roadways would take the legendary circus leader’s name—Bailey's Crossroads. The locale then became the winter quarters for his circus.
In 1845, Hachaliah returned to Somers for a visit and died from the kick of a horse while there. He is buried in Somers' Ivandell Cemetery.
Several of the next generation of Baileys performed in circuses, carrying on the tradition and bringing it to Frederick. Maryland in June, 1858. Jacob Engelbrecht wrote of this in his fabled diary under an entry dated June 2nd, 1858.
“Bailey & Company (circus and menagerie) were in our town yesterday afternoon & night.—they had 2 large elephants, which were harnessed in the wagon that contained the music. They exhibited in Mrs. Phebus’ old brick yard Battletown—full tent of natives. They came from Emmitsburg yesterday and today go to Clarksburg, Montgomery County.”
Battletown refers to the collection of houses on the western end of town (Patrick Street) after it intersects with Jefferson Street. As can be seen on the Titus Atlas Map of 1873, Mrs. Phebus' property once constituted the area between W Patrick and W South streets roughly stretching from Ken's Automotive Garage to Comcast
Hachaliah Bailey served as a role model to a young P.T. Barnum, who wrote of meeting him upon a visit to Barnum's store in Bethel, Connecticut. As a boy, Barnum had worked as a ticket seller for Bailey's show, and later ran the Barnum's American Museum from New York City starting in 1841. Besides building up the existing exhibits, Barnum brought in animals to add zoo-like elements, and a freak show. During this time, Barnum took the Museum on road tours, named "P.T. Barnum's Grand Traveling American Museum.”
The museum burned down in July 1865, however P.T. Barnum attempted to re-establish the museum at another location in the city. It too burned down in 1868, and Barnum opted to retire from the museum business. In 1888, he lent his name to a partnership with James Anthony Bailey (formerly McGinnis), who had adopted the surname of Frederick Bailey, a nephew of Hachaliah, to form the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
in 1884, five of the seven Ringling brothers had started a small circus in Baraboo, Wisconsin. This was about the same time that the Barnum & Bailey Circus were at the peak of its popularity. Similar to dozens of small circuses that toured the Midwest and the Northeast at the time, the brothers moved their circus from town to town in small animal-drawn caravans. Their circus rapidly grew and they were soon able to move their operation by train, which allowed them to have the largest traveling amusement enterprise of that time.
Meanwhile, Barnum and Bailey would split up in 1885, but came back together in 1888 with the "Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth." This set the stage for these two gentlemen to have their entertainment juggernaut tour the world as the Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 1891, P. T. Barnum died as a result of a stroke, leaving A. G. Bailey at the helm as he continued touring overseas.
Bailey's European tour gave the Ringling brothers an opportunity to move their show from the Midwest to the eastern seaboard. Faced with the new competition, Bailey took his show west of the Rocky Mountains for the first time in 1905. He died the next year, and the circus was sold to the Ringling Brothers.
Although the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus would not make a visit to Frederick, several other circus shows would present programs here up through recent years where this style of entertainment in its original form has faded away for a variety of reasons most of which center on animal safety/cruelty issues. Today, many entities are re-launching their brands as animal-free circus programming.
A traveling circus heads in a westward direction on W. Patrick Street in this photograph dated 1895. This exact location would be in the street in front of today's Weinberg Center stretching to the intersection with Market St. This appears to be "Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show" which gave 4 shows at the Fairgrounds in late April of that year.
When it comes to clowns, the mission of this circus performer is to employ physical humor in an effort to entertain the audience. They often wear colorful clothing, makeup, wigs and exaggerated footwear. The word “clown” comes from the Icelandic word “klunni” which means “a clumsy person.”
According to Wikipedia, I found that the first known clowns date from the time of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt, around 2400 BC:
"Later civilizations also knew about clowns. Early clowns were also priests and their roles were almost indivisible. Clowns of ancient Greece were bald and wore padded clothes to appear larger. Ancient Roman clowns wore pointed hats and were the butts of the jokes. Italian commedia dell'arte of the 16th century introduced masked characters Arlecchino (Harlequin) and Pierrot (Pirouette).
In time, a few standard types of clowns developed:
The Whiteface clown was originally designed by Joseph Grimaldi in 1801. It has its face and neck covered with white makeup, mouth painted in a grin, and black eyebrows. His clothes are extravagant and he is a sophisticated character. He has the highest status in the clown hierarchy.
Auguste has his face painted in pink, red, or tan. His mouth and eyes are painted white and his lips and eyebrows are black. His clothes can be well-fitted or completely opposite. His character is that of an anarchist, a joker, or a fool.
The character clowns are parodies of different types like a butcher, a baker, a policeman, a housewife or a hobo. Standard subtypes of this type developed in North America are The Hobo, The Tramp, and The Bum. The Hobo travels and has no luck but has a positive attitude. The Tramp is the same but without positive attitude and always sad."
Some of famous clowns from the history are still remembered as legendary pioneers in the history of performance such as Joseph Grimaldi. Grimaldi even has a park named after him as he was an English artist who practically invented the modern clown. Even today, clowns are called “Joey" (after him) and just feet away from his enclosed gravesite, visitors are invited to "dance" on an area symbolic to be his grave.
Matthew Sully was the first circus clown in the United States. He performed in Ricketts's circus and was a Harlequin, tumbler and singer. Lancaster, Pennsylvania's John Durang (1768-1822) was the first "American-born" circus clown. He also performed in a traveling show known as Ricketts' circus.
Jean Baptiste Casmiere Breschard brought back circus clowns into United States in 1804 after a short dry spell (when no circuses worked). Clowns would grow in popularity throughout the 19th century as the interest and demand in traveling menageries and circuses grew among the masses.
The heyday, of course, would come in the 20th century and gave us arguably the most famous clowns in US history. These gentlemen even shared the same name and DNA. They were Emmett Kelly Sr. and son, Emmett Kelly, Jr. Another son, John Patrick Kelly, would also perform as a clown but did not reach the heights of his father and brother.
A world famous circus clown during the 1930s and 1940s, Emmett Kelly, Sr. is best remembered for his sad-faced, silent "Weary Willy" hobo clown, who as the perpetual underdog never gave up, and for his comic act of sweeping the spotlight. Born in Sedan, Kansas (where a museum honors him today), his parents worked for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, where his father, Thomas Kelly, was part of a railroad crew, and his mother, Mollie, ran a boarding house for the Railroad.
About 1905, Emmett's parents moved to a farm in southern Missouri, to provide a better life for their children. For a while, Emmett worked as a cartoonist for a silent film company in Kansas City, Missouri, although he had always dreamed of joining a traveling circus. Eventually, he joined the Howe's Great London Circus, initially painting the circus wagons, and then becoming a trapeze artist.
In 1922, he met and married Eva Moore, another trapeze artist. Together they worked the trapeze and high wire acts. In 1923, Eva became pregnant with their son, and Kelly tried to increase his salary by working between acts as a clown. He conceived the hobo clown "Weary Willy" but it was not accepted until the Great Depression, which made hobos, tramps and unemployed scruffy men more acceptable to the audiences. In 1933, Weary Willy made his appearance, and quickly grew to become an American icon. At the end of his performance, rather than take a break, Weary Willy would often wander into other acts, and steal the limelight with his silent parody of the other performer. Audiences loved it.
While performing in London in 1942, he came to the attention of John Ringling North, who signed him to the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. He stayed with Ringling Brothers for 14 seasons, worked as the mascot for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956, and was in several movies.
Son, Emmett Jr., with the encouragement of his father, took over the "Weary Willy" costume and act in 1960, and kept the act going for another new generation of fans. Kelly, Sr. published his autobiography, "Clown" in 1954, and died of a heart attack in 1979 in Sarasota, Florida. He was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1989.
Sarasota, Florida is the home of the Ringling Circus Museum, and yours truly visited this repository back in 1983 while on a family vacation to the Gulf Coast as a teenager. I asked my research assistant, Marilyn Veek, to reach out to the museum in hopes to find any information on our “clown” and theirs, Thomas Joseph O’Neill. The staff was very friendly and immediately searched records on our behalf, but did not come up with anything for us. Our quest will continue, but sadly we can only guess that he likely performed with the Ringling Brothers likely sometime between 1900-1920.
Information is equally scarce on the rest of Thomas O’Neill’s life as well. With our records claim of his birthplace being Portland, Maine, and his gravestone claiming 1879 as his birthdate, I searched Ancestry.com for clues. The closest matching record I could find came in the form of a World War I Draft Registration Card.
Dating from September 12th, 1918, the Thomas Joseph O’Neill listed here was a resident living at 805 Middle Street in Bath, Sagadahoc County, Maine, a suburb of Portland. The birthdate listed is May 25th, 1879 and states that this individual is native born. If this is our “clown,” he lists as his present occupation that of shipyard worker for the Texas Shipbuilding Company. He lists no “nearest relatives” and also reported that one of his eyes was defective.
I found some O’Neills , O’Neils, O’Niels and O'Neals in the greater Portland (Maine) area in the 1880 census but none seemed quite right as the family of our subject.
I also found a Thomas J. as the son of John H. and Bridget O’Niel in Lewiston, Maine and this town is 35 miles from Portland. The spelling is off (in this particular record as well) from O’Neil in later records for this family but I conjecture this is likely a not a fruitful lead because I later found a gravesite in Lewiston for this particular Thomas, so I can rule him out.
Our Mount Olivet/Frederick Thomas O' Neill could have been adopted, or orphaned? Why did people run off with the circus in the first place, as the old saying goes?
I only found Thomas J. O'Neill in the 1940 US Census. He was living at 26 South Market Street in an apartment building/boarding house owned by Sophie Raabe. He is listed as a laborer of a brush manufacturing company.
I only found Thomas O’Neill mentioned a few times in our local Frederick papers. These give proof, however, to his background as a performer.
According to his obituary in local papers in 1944, it appears that Thomas O’Neill arrived in Frederick around 1922. These same reports say he lived at the YMCA, however, he lived with Mrs. Raabe at least in 1940. I’m wondering about his financial condition, was he a real-life hobo or tramp in the same vein as the clown characters he portrayed for Ringling? We are talking of a span starting with the “Roaring Twenties,” ending with World War II Era and sandwiching the Great Depression.
The obituary did mention that he was employed by the Ox Fibre Brush Company as many were here in Frederick during its operation. For those unfamiliar with this company, the Ox Fiber Brush Company, Lisa Mroszczyk Murphy wrote a great Preservation Matters article for the Frederick News-Post explaining its history back in August, 2018 which can be accessed with this link:
Thomas Joseph O’Neill died on May 29, 1944—one week before D-Day. At the time, he was living at the YMCA. I truly wonder if he was destitute and just barely getting by. Regardless, he would be buried in Area X, not far from our Key Memorial Chapel on June 1st. I’m thankful that our mysterious former clown actually has a marked final resting place—especially considering his birth and early life are such gray areas.
As I was researching for this story, I found a Mount Olivet Cemetery (also known as Olivet Cemetery) in Colma, California. Here, in this 65-acre burying ground of 100,000 interments, exists a very special grave memorial that remembers the Showfolks of America. This national organization, made up of circus or carnival people, held conventions in nearby San Francisco after 1945.
The area around the clown-faced monument is known as Showmen’s Rest. The monument was originally erected in 1945, and to this day, the plot has been occupied with the interments of many clowns and other circus and carnival performers.
So, here’s an interesting riddle for you, based on a recent, true event.
We had some special visitors roaming through the cemetery last week (Friday, March 18)—actually one could describe them as a small, well-behaved herd. These “tombstone tourists” can arbitrarily be said to hail from the Cervidae family, and here I’m not talking about a specific surname, but rather a family of animals. You may recognize this as the deer family, however I will throw you another curveball in saying that our guests certainly did not possess four hooves, antlers or bushy tails. Looking back on my time spent among this group, I’d say they were benevolent, protective and orderly, exactly what I expected from this collection of elk coming here from various parts of the country.
I would love to wax poetic about elk, also known as the wapiti, one of the largest species within the deer family and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in its native range of North America. The name "wapiti" is sometimes used for this creature as it originates from the Shawnee and Cree Indian word “waapiti,” meaning “white rump.” This is insignificant, I guess, because I need to confess that our visitors to the cemetery last week, although mammals, were 100% of the human variety. In addition, they all held membership in an American fraternal order founded in 1868 as a social club in New York City—The Elks.
I was tasked with giving a brief tour of Mount Olivet, in which I would show a few historic points of interest to a small delegation of Elk members. The V.I.P.s of this group included the Elk organization’s top official, T. Keith Mills and wife Amy from Caldwell, Idaho. Mr. Mills is the National President of the Elks and holds the distinguished title of Grand Exalted Ruler. His term began in July, 2021 and runs through July, 2022.
We also had on hand Mr. Paul D. Helsel, the Maryland/Delaware State Sponsor of Elks. He was accompanied by his wife Jane, and both call home my old college stomping ground of Newark, DE. Paul is a Past Grand Exalted Ruler, serving his term in 2008. With him was another official in Frank Kane (Laurel Lodge), Vice President of the North Central District of MD DE DC Elks Association. This group was traveling the region and had a local guide in Warren Johnson and photographer in Paula Larson, both members of Frederick’s local Elks Lodge #684. Mr. Johnson is a past Exalted Ruler of the Frederick Lodge and a MD DE DC Elks Association Past President. He originally contacted me last month to set up this special visit by the country’s top Elk.
The Francis Scott Key Memorial and gravesite has received thousands of visitors since its unveiling back in August, 1898. I can now gladly add two Grand Exalted Rulers in Mr. Mills and Mr. Helsel to a list that includes the likes of US President William Howard Taft, telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell, President General of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Dorothy Ritchie McLean and singer-songwriter Lee Greenwood (“God Bless the U.S.A.”).
Grand Exalted Ruler Mills was in the midst of a multi-week tour across the country, visiting local Elk Lodges and nearby points of interest along the way. Before coming to Frederick, he was in the nation’s capital taking in pertinent sights and experiences. It was now, my pleasure to show off our historic, “garden cemetery” that has immediate ties to the Elks organization as the membership includes our Board of Directors president, George T. “Tim” Horman and Cemetery superintendent (of 56 years) J. Ronald Pearcy. In my capacity, I had the opportunity to recount the stories of our cemetery’s two most famous historical figures in Francis Scott Key and Barbara Fritchie—individuals whose fame came via a song or poem written about the US flag under attack by an invading enemy.
While at the Barbara Fritchie Monument and Memorial, I made sure to share the unique connection between our patriotic nonagenarian and the Elks through the portrayal of the legendary Frederick Dame by Bullwinkle T. Moose. This occurred within a "Bullwinkle's Corner" segment that originally aired on February 13th, 1960. (Click the cartoon image below to view this classic short.)
Our local Elks Lodge holds the distinctive number of 684, meaning that it was the 684th lodge to be chartered by the national organization of the BPOE (Benevolent Protective Order of Elks) in the country. This occurred on April 2nd, 1901 with 35 founding members from the Frederick community. The first meeting was at the Red Men's Club, originally located in Kemp Hall on the corner of North Market and East Church streets. Their first home was on the second floor of this building that still stands and today serves home to The Candy Kitchen and Isabella's Restaurant.
By 1920, the club outgrew its space and built a new headquarters at the corner of West Second and Court streets. This also became too small, and a longtime headquarters was built at 7 West Second Street. This building was destroyed by fire in January 1970, prompting the present lodge on Willowdale Drive and Shookstown Road to be constructed. The former lodge site is a small, public park site these days called the "Healing Garden at Bonita Maas Park" and is dedicated to victims of child abuse and administered by the Friends of the Child Advocacy Center.
Although not a member myself, I have given a few history lectures here at this facility. I’ve also met with members here and partaken in food and beverage from their fine in-house bar/kitchen. Our Frederick Elks Lodge is one of the country’s most active, and raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for charity, thanks to its nearly 1,400 members.
The group supports three Boy Scout troops, and youth sports teams. Special projects have also been tackled, such as raising $50,000 one year to help start Frederick Memorial Hospital's mobile health van, and giving $10,000 to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine to sponsor an exhibit on the history of flags. The national Elks organization helped initiate the June 14th Flag Day holiday, and every year, local Elks clubs are mandated to have a Flag Day ceremony. They used to head up one here at Mount Olivet, but that waned a while back, however we worked together to recreate the tradition with a flag day program here in June, 2019.
The Frederick BPOE Lodge also supports veterans’ programs and provide volunteers to drive veterans to the Martinsburg Veterans Administration Hospital several days each week. On Christmas morning, anywhere from 30 to 80 Elks will go to Montevue and Citizens Nursing Home to sing Christmas carols for the residents and pass out gifts. The organization gives money to The Arc, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, the Jeanne Bussard Workshop and many other local charities. Members also volunteer time to these organizations.
I brought my tour group of Elks to Confederate Row and told them about the story of Frederick’s role as "One Vast Hospital" during the American Civil War. I also explained why we have over 700 Southern soldiers here that died during the war.
We also stopped at the grave of Robert Downing in Area M. A Washington, DC native, Mr. Downing was one of the top stage actors of the late 1800s and is best remembered by theater afficionados for his recurring role as “Spartacus the Gladiator.” He performed this character over 3,000 times for audiences all over the country.
Speaking of stage actors of the late 1800s is the perfect seque to explaining how the B.P.O.E. come about? I learned the following story by visiting the organizations website at elks.org
“In New York City, a small group of actors and entertainers, wishing to continue their social gatherings on Sundays, when New York's blue laws prevented the opening of public establishments, began to meet regularly as the "Jolly Corks," a name derived from a bar trick introduced by the group's organizer. While the meetings were held with regularity, apparently no form nor substance resulted, except for the adoption of a toast to members of the group not in attendance."
Shortly before Christmas in 1867, only a few months after the fellows began to meet, one of their number died, leaving his wife and children destitute. This event gave rise to the notion that, in addition to good fellowship, the Jolly Corks needed a more noble purpose in order to endure, and serving not only their own in need, but others as well, would be appropriate. Two months later, on February 16, 1868, with a statement of serious purpose, an impressive set of rituals, a symbol of strength and majesty and such other elaborate trappings that might be expected of a group of actors and musicians, the new fraternal order was launched.”
I rounded out my tour to Grand Exalted Ruler Mills by making a stop in Mount Olivet’s Area L, at a grave site located directly beyond the Key Memorial Chapel. This was the final resting place of Clara Elizabeth Hauer Myers (1860-1931). I can best describe Clara as a Doe between two Elks because she is buried be in the middle of two former husbands in Area L’s Lot 82—both held membership in the BPOE. As a matter of fact, there is a dead giveaway (sorry about the word use here) to this being the gravesite of an Elk member. One just needs to look at the monument.
I was already familiar with this beautiful monument boasting a picturesque Elk carved on its face, and paying homage to Lodge #15, located in Washington, DC. This was the home lodge of Charles Nicholas Hauer who was a member in nation's capital chapter of the organization, as he would die one month before Frederick would open up Lodge #684 in 1901. I wrote about Mr. Hauer in an earlier “Story in Stone” from May, 2020 featuring Frederick’s early oyster saloons and eateries.
Charles Nicholas Hauer was born October 5th, 1859, the son of George N. and Lucretia (Poole) Hauer. He was one of nine children and spent most of his life living on South Market Street. I did not find much about his childhood here in Frederick but he eventually found himself in the hospitality business of restaurants.
He got the chance to learn from a great teacher with a very similar name, Charles E. Haller.
In 1883, Charles N. Hauer, took charge of the Haller Dining Rooms establishment at Church and Market when his boss (Charles E. Haller) relocated to the Green House a few blocks to the south.
This was quite an opportunity for young Mr. Hauer, a distant relative of Frederick's famed heroine, Barbara (Hauer) Fritchie. Just a few years prior he was working as a cigar maker, along with his brother, Fritchie Hauer. The boys' late father had also been a cigar-maker.
Now at the helm of a restaurant, Charles N. Hauer took the opportunity to rename his eatery on the corner of Church and Market streets called "The Gem Restaurant."
Charles continued to run The Gem for a few years at this locale before moving to Washington, DC where he was the manager of the Brightwood Hotel in the northwest area of the District, located on Brightwood Avenue. He married Clara Filby of Gettysburg in 1887, but the couple had no children.
Mr. Hauer resided in Washington, DC at least though 1890 and sometime soon after returned to Frederick. While there, he was initiated into the Washington, DC Lodge of Elks, #15. This number is proudly displayed on his gravestone as well.
Charles would experience a strange degree of fame in the form of a medical testimonial he would give for Hood's Sarsaparilla in the year 1892. His face would appear in newspapers coast to coast. The following ad appeared in the March 2nd edition of the Philadelphia Times.
Perhaps if one had bad blood, the tempting intake of raw oysters and alcohol, readily available at work, may not have been the best career choice. But what do I know?
Charles would eventually leave The Gem. I believe this was the time period in which he took a job at the establishment on West Patrick Street named The European House. Ironically, this was the original "Gem" location for those keeping score at home. Actually, the City Hotel next door would receive a makeover under new ownership after the death of Frank B. Carlin. It became the New City Hotel. The European changed hands as well and would come to be known as "The Buffalo Hotel and Restaurant." Wisely, Charles Hauer soon brought in his mentor with like name to help him manage the new venture.
Charles N. Hauer was at the top of his game at the start of 1901. The Buffalo Restaurant was going strong but unfortunately, the Hood's Sasparilla would not be a lasting cure for our subject. He would pass on March 10th, 1901 at the age of 41. His death certificate in our cemetery files gives pneumonia as cause of death. He would be buried two days later in Area L/Lot 82 as we've already seen.
Hauer's widow (Clara) would remarry a man named William Myers. Mr. Myers belonged to our local Elks Chapter here in town. Clara passed in 1931 and was laid to rest next to her first husband and the fine Elks grave monument. As an aside, Clara's obituary below claims here to be a descendant of the famed Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed during the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. (She was shot while kneading dough in her sister's kitchen on East Cemetery Hill).
And speaking of death (the common theme of these stories), Clara's second husband (William W. Myers) would die three years later. Both Clara and William had their respective funeral services held in Mount Olivet's mortuary chapel (Key Chapel). These services were attended by Elk members, and this chapel completed in 1913 is just steps from their eventual gravesite with Charles N. Hauer.
As I reported earlier, the Frederick Lodge, BPOE #684, opened in 1901. I was interested in seeing if the local lodge's first Exalted Ruler was buried here in Mount Olivet? Sure enough, it was a man named Wilbur H. Duvall, and he is here in Area G/Lot 130. Sadly, Mr. Duvall was only 54 at the time of his death in 1906. Like Mr. Hauer, he had but a short time in the Elks organization. Many more Elks would follow over the next 120 years.
As a final note, I came across the following news story regarding a carnival that the Frederick Elks brought to town in 1902, one of the very first events in their history in the community. It appears to be "In the Street" and the Great Frederick Fair wrapped up in one for the ultimate in old-time, downtown Frederick fun. Oh "deer," what a time it must have been.
“Many of our smaller schools have unique features, and I feel that one of the unique features of the Maryland school is our art department. We have in Miss Doub a lady who has been with us for over 30 years, and who has given her whole life to the study of art. I hope that you have given some attention to the exhibit that we have of our art work in the art workroom. If you have not, I would like to call your attention to that exhibit.”
This was an introduction given for Florence W. Doub at the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf held in Belleville, Ontario, Canada on June 27th, 1923. It was spoken by Doub’s boss, Ignatius Bjorlee, superintendent of the Maryland School for the Deaf from 1917-1955.
Miss Doub could not attend this important event in person as her only sibling was seriously ill back home in Frederick. Instead, her paper on art curriculum for deaf students was read by a colleague named Miss Elizabeth Anderson. (Note: I’ve included a transcript of Doub’s paper at the end of this article.) She was not only one of Frederick’s most talented artists, but Florence Doub was an extraordinary educator, one who would spend her entire teaching career of 51 years in the confines of Frederick City.
Florence W. Doub
Known locally as “Miss Floy,” Florence Doub was born on August 27th, 1851. She was the daughter of William H. Doub and wife Marietta Staley. Miss Doub would reside on N. Market Street all her life, save for one move at the age of one, from 344 N. Market Street to 413.
Mr. Doub was a wholesale and retail merchant of dry goods and groceries, and ran his business out of the family home on the southwest corner of N. Market and E. 4th streets during the 1850s and 60s. He survived the Civil War era, but eventually would file bankruptcy in 1868. That same year, Florence would have her name in the local paper for a much more positive achievement as she was recognized for her artistic talents while a student at the Frederick Female Seminary.
Florence went on to graduate from the Frederick Female Seminary in spring 1868. The following November, a published list of premium winners at the recent Frederick Agricultural Society’s annual fair would give testament to Floy’s early talent. Her acquisition of ribbons and prize money at the Great Frederick Fair would continue throughout her lifetime. Miss Doub would eventually be asked to help design the annual arrangement of the Art Department for the fair years later.
A biography of Miss Doub states:
“Early on, amidst the natural beauty that was abundant in the community, she developed a love for nature and art that reflected it.”
She is said to have taught art to locals beginning with the children and grandchildren of her prominent uncle, James H. Gambrill, Sr. Mr. Gambrill was married to Floy’s maternal aunt, Antoinette Frances Staley (1838-1894). An ironic connection is that the famed mill on Carroll Creek that was built and operated by Mr. Gambrill, and his son of the same name, would become synonymous with local art as the home of the Delaplaine Arts Center on Carroll Street.
She would perfect her talents in art and instruction over the next few years. In 1878, she took up employment at a state school that had been founded here in Frederick a decade earlier for deaf children. Originally known as the Maryland Institute for the Deaf & Dumb, Miss Doub would be associated with this specialized place of higher learning until her death. Here she managed to work art and sketching into the curriculum.
Floy’s talents became more and more sought by the local population leading her to open an art studio out of her family residence. Miss Doub also taught art to children in her own studio and added parents and other adults to her student roster. One young student recalled that Miss Doub permitted her pupils to study only one component of art at a time, with extensive practice of the techniques and study of the development of that element before she would allow them to advance. Inspiration, cooperation, joy, and happiness in the studio described Miss Doub’s character and approach to teaching.
Within a few short decades Miss Doub would be regarded as one of the finest artists in Maryland. It would not be long before her “old school” would come calling. In 1893, Floy began a 27-year tenure as head of the Art Department at the Woman’s College of Frederick. She found herself teaching art in the building that formerly housed the Frederick Female Seminary and was named after the founder of that school Hiram Winchester. Today, Winchester Hall on E. Church street in downtown Frederick, serves as the seat of Frederick County Government. In 1893, the former female seminary came to be known as Woman’s College of Frederick under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Henry Apple. This institution would take the name of Hood College in 1913.
Florence Doub kept busy with her three jobs in teaching art. She would never marry and continued to live with her mother and brother, Cornelius, a year younger than she. Her father had died in 1894, and was buried in the family plot next to the Gambrill family in Mount Olivet.
It has been said that Miss Doub wanted to give back to her beloved Frederick in a way that would expand an appreciation and understanding of the arts among women. In the late 1890s, she approached her friends with the idea of starting a local art club. She received an enthusiastic response and a group was formed with the goal of “expanding the knowledge of the arts among club members, and to use art to encourage the Frederick community to absorb the beauty that surrounded it.” The year of 1897 marked the birth of the Frederick Art Club. Florence would serve as the club’s only president for 35 years up until the the time of her death.
Florence would continue as Frederick’s leading female authority in the field of art over the next three decades. During this time, she would help mentor a young artist named Helen Smith, also buried within the confines of Mount Olivet. Miss Smith would graduate from the Maryland Art Institute in 1916 and shortly thereafter accepted a job here. Helen Smith would eventually follow in “Floy’s” footsteps as chair of the college’s art department, and her career would be just as storied as that of our subject.
Florence and her brother, Cornelius Staley Doub, assumed co-ownership of the family home upon the death of their mother in 1914. She is a woman equally recognized for her kindness, compassion and generosity, as Miss Doub has been regarded as an inspiration to many. Her opportunity to be recognized on an international stage came in early 1923 as she was chosen to present a paper on the importance of art instruction to deaf students at the 23rd Meeting of the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf to be held June 25-30th, 1923 in Canada. This honor in front of a group of peers from across the country, Canada and other countries throughout the world would take place at the Ontario School for the Deaf located in Belleville, Ontario.
Unfortunately, Floy’s duty to family would take precedent as she had to remain home to care for her dying brother. Cornelius Staley Doub would pass six weeks later in August. Floy would handle the burial arrangements as well as her brother was placed in Area C/Lot 173.
At the onset of this story we mentioned the paper/speech Miss Doub had prepared for the conference. Here is a facsimile of that program.
Florence herself was getting older, but was just as active as ever. She continued teaching and participation in civic duties such as the women’s suffrage movement. She stayed active in art and all other pursuits until the afternoon of Saturday, January 16th, 1932, when she was felled with a paralytic stroke. Miss Floy rallied that particular Saturday and is said to have apologized to her friends and family around her that evening that her physician had forbidden her to resume her teaching duties for the upcoming week.
Florence W. Doub would pass in the confines of her life’s home on N. Market Street in the early morning hours of Tuesday, January 19th, 1932.
As her body was laid to rest with other family members at a very well-attended funeral service, those on hand likely thought that this humble woman’s life work and influence was a much greater masterpiece than any of her single art pieces or associated prizes. A memorial tribute was published by the Frederick Art Club in the form of a pamphlet shortly after her death claims:
“Though her life was confined to Frederick, she held a wide-ranging view of what constituted art and felt that everyone had some sort of creativity if it could be identified and nurtured.”
Miss Doub's position with the Frederick Art Club would be filled by Miss Helen Smith. The club continues to go strong, now in their 125th year.
(Author's Note: I was unsuccessful in finding Florence W. Doub's middle name. Secondly. I could not find any visuals of Miss Doub's artwork, but am sure that many residents and repositories such as MSD and Hood College have valuable pieces within their collections. Feel free to send me jpgs of her work and I will add these to the story for further enhancement. )
As one of the most risqué titles in my five plus years of writing this humble “Stories in Stone” blog, I can assure you that this week’s offering has nothing to do with Indiana-born, singer-songwriter John Cougar Mellencamp. I simply took poetic license from a song featured on this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s eighth album entitled Scarecrow—released in the waning months of my senior year of high school (1985). You may recall Mellencamp’s catchy salute to 1960’s music with “R.O.C.K in the U.S.A.,” the third single from the fore-mentioned Scarecrow which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It followed two other Top 10 songs previously released from the same album in “Lonely Ol’ Night” and “Small Town.” Where did the last 37 years go, as it truly seems like only yesterday, right?
Gravestones come in all shapes and sizes. While some take the shape of the standard rectangle, others have been crafted into ornate obelisks, crosses and beautiful angels placed upon pedestals. This is a far cry from early, or more primitive grave markers still found in family farm burying grounds and remote places once considered on the frontier of American civilization. Here, rocks and boulders were used to memorialize the decedent. Of course, one can find this with surviving graves of native aboriginal peoples and former slaves of the Colonial period.
There are over 40,000 monuments and markers here in Frederick’s historic Mount Olivet. Interestingly, I know of at least two instances in our cemetery where we have large boulders marking gravesites in lieu of traditional tombstones and fancy works carved in marble or granite. Although rustic in appearance, both of these examples are just as artistic and meaningful in their purpose of memorializing their respective decedents.
The first of these can be found in Area E, one of the oldest and most prestigious sections of the cemetery as it constitutes the eastern slope of “Cemetery Hill.” Of course, the symbolic and spiritual aspect of graves facing eastward added to the popularity of this locale, especially at a time long before Costco and the truck stop that predated it. You could view from this vantage point a scenic and pastoral landscape, boasting a rolling countryside south of Frederick Town and dotted with farms and forests surrounding the old Georgetown Turnpike. In time, of course, would come intersecting superhighways in the form of I-70 and I-270, sparking the grand commercialization of Evergreen Point. While beggars can’t, or shouldn’t, be choosy, the baseball field complex (and adjoining parking lot) is a favorable neighbor here as it could be a shopping plaza or the highway itself. Thankfully when these lots were first bought, utilized and visited by immediate family members and those of the next few generations, the location afforded a greater sense of peace and tranquility, but such is growth and progress. A salute to the atmosphere of the 1860s instead of the 1960s as John Mellencamp’s song memorialized.
A collection of prominent early Frederick families are buried here in Area E with names such as Ross, Worthington, Goldsborough, Johnson, Brengle and Tyler. You’ll also find former subjects of this blog in the personages Margaret School Hood, Elihu Rockwell, Peter Mantz and Dr. Charles McCurdy Mathias. A reminder of earlier times of our “Garden Cemetery” roots, comes with an odd and eye-catching monument found on grave #4 within Area E’s Lot 102. The mortal remains of one Harriet Catherine Hanshew were placed here on October 29th, 1883.
What grabs attention the most with this large boulder is the puzzling, yet dutifully carved, identification on its face—“Hallie.” I would come to learn that “Hallie” was Harriet Hanshew’s nickname, although it doesn’t appear as so in her obituary or in census records. I did, however, finally find it within a list of fair premiums connected to the 1860 Frederick County Agricultural Exposition.
Outside of Academy-Award winning actress Halle Berry, I was unfamiliar with this name and the different spelling utilized upon this rock. This prompted me so to do a little research. On a website entitled ohbabynames.com, I found the following etymology regarding the name Hallie:
“Hallie was in regular usage during the late 1800s and at the turn of the 20th century. It turns out that Hallie is actually a diminutive form of the old-lady name Harriet (much like Hattie). Harriet is actually a female version of Harry which itself is an English diminutive of Henry. Henry is the English form of the German Heinrich meaning “ruler of the home”. Harry is also sometimes considered a short form of Harold which is also Germanic for “ruler of the army." So over 100 years ago when we see Hallie in use, we understand this as an independently given name derived from Harriet. In which case the name would be pronounced HAL-ee instead of HAY-lee (as In Halle Berry). Today, however, Hallie is just another commonplace respelling of Hailey (a tremendously trendy and currently overused female given name). Hailey is derived from an Old English surname meaning “hay clearing” to describe a topographical location. The etymology of Hallie as derived from Harry is much more powerful (meaning “ruler”) so we like this origin better.”
According to our cemetery records, I found 18 decedents with the moniker of Hallie. One of these can be connected to this rock, but may not be under it. Hallie Cecelia Hanshew was born on December 21st, 1841 here in Frederick. She was the daughter of Henry Hanshew (1785-1862) and wife Catherine Susan Stover (1801-1892). Henry was a private in the 1st Regiment of the Maryland Militia from August 25th-Sept 27th, 1814. He served under Captain Henry Steiner and his Artillery detachment. According to the 1850 US Census, the Hanshews can be found living with Mrs. Hanshew’s mother, Margaret (Hauer) Stover. Margaret was a sister to the famed Barbara (Hauer) Fritchie, making Catherine (Hanshew) a niece, and our subject Hallie a grandniece of Frederick’s famous flag-waver.
Hallie was the ninth of nine children. She and her siblings helped in the family business of skin dressing. Certainly not a glamorous profession, skin dressers are involved with the preparation and dying of furs and skins to make them suitable for the manufacture of clothing. More specifically in our case, the 1860 US census lists Hallie’s dad, Henry Hanshew, as a glove maker, and a neighbor to the Fritchies. He worked with Barbara’s husband, John Caspar Fritchie, also known to be a glove maker.
In my research, I was only able to uncover two references to Hallie, one in childhood and one in adulthood. The first is from lecture delivered to the Lancaster County Historical Society in the early 20th century. This speech was later published under the title: A Lancaster Girl in History, written by John H. Landis, and published in 1919. Below is the portion of that work which briefly mentions Hallie and a supposed role in the Barbara Fritchie incident of September, 1862:
A second mention regarding Hallie Hanshew came within a biography on Dr. Franklin Buchanan Smith (1856-1912) that can be found in a book entitled Men of Mark in Maryland (Vol. 3), by David H. Carroll and Thomas H. Boggs. The passage from this book, published in 1911, reads as follows:
“Doctor Smith had the advantages of an excellent education. His rudimentary education was received under Miss Hallie Hanshew, niece of Barbara Fritchie. He attended Frederick College, and then went to Princeton University, where he was graduate in 1876. After deciding to enter the medical profession, he took up his studies in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania and was graduated in 1878, being one of the three prizemen of that year, i.e., that in Anatomy; and began the practice of his profession at Frederick in that year, after being substitute resident physician for six months at Blockley and Presbyterian Hospitals, Philadelphia.”
This bears witness to the fact that Hallie Hanshew worked as a teacher at the Old Frederick Academy, once located on Council (formerly Counsel) Street in downtown Frederick. Just as she had in life, many of her Courthouse Square neighbors surround her in death here in Area E. I’m assuming Miss Hanshew’s career here at the school took place in the early 1870s, although it is not verified by either the 1870 or 1880 census records.
Hallie never married and can be found living with her mother in the 1880 census. I assume this home was the same she had lived in her entire life on the south side of West Patrick Street near Carroll Creek. She would die just a few years later in 1883 of consumption. This disease is also known as tuberculosis, a progressive wasting away of the body especially from pulmonary tuberculosis.
Hallie was buried in Mount Olivet in the Hanshew lot, however upon further review, I found two stones bearing her name. The first of these is quite peculiar and puzzling. Atop this supposed grave, would be placed a monument that resembles a boulder more than a traditional tombstone. On its face, the carved letters that form “Hallie” look as if they are formed of trees or plants. It’s the only one of its kind in a large Hanshew compound consisting of four lots and boasting 34 individuals surrounding a principal obelisk featuring the family name in the center.
In studying our cemetery lot cards, I found another grave site accredited to Hallie C. Hanshew. This was immediately to the right of her father’s grave, however it is not pictured on the popular www.Findagrave.com site that we often talk about on in this blog. Perhaps the reason that I missed this stone, along with Findagrave volunteers, lies in the fact that the traditional marble gravestone is down and off its pedestal. It seems to be a straightforward repair, as the pins are still intact to the dye of the monument, but need to be properly fastened back in place and leveled. I did my best to hold up the stone in its upside-down state so I could get a picture. Without additional information, I’m assuming this latter stone marks Hallie’s original gravesite, however, I have no earthly idea about the Hallie boulder stone just up the hill in the Hanshew lot.
“A Wish Fulfilled”
A much more pronounced boulder memorial than Hallie’s can be found a few hundred yards south in Mount Olivet’s Area Q. Here, under the shade of a large tree at the base of Cemetery Hill, you can find more descendants of the famed Johnson family originally hailing from southern Maryland’s Calvert County. Of particular curiosity is the grave monument of Dr. William H. Johnson’s first-born son, William Channing Johnson (b. 1866) and his wife Laura Fauntleroy Johnson.
Not a direct descendant of our first governor and local high school namesake Thomas, William Channing Johnson and his father and four siblings found in this cemetery lot are direct descendants of T.J.’s brother, Roger Johnson. Roger Johnson was a major in the American Revolution and had established an early iron furnace in southern Frederick county in the late 1700s at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain. This operation was located just east of where MD route 28 (Dickerson Road) crosses the Monocacy River. Johnson had built a house in 1812 up the hill to the northeast of this furnace site on this estate he named Rock Hill. Its location can be reached by Dr. Belt Road.
The Rock Hall mansion was built of red and white quartzite rock, also used to build the nearby C&O Canal aqueduct over the Monocacy River and quarried on the property. The oldest section remains stone, and the addition has stucco over stone. Records show the stone mason was paid $550 for building the shell of the house. The home would be owned by Magill Belt a century after its original construction and was among the musings of author William Jarboe Grove in my favorite Frederick heritage-related work entitled: The History of Carrollton Manor (published in 1921). Mr. Grove states in his book:
“Pig iron from Johnson’s furnace was processed into bar iron, the article of commerce, at the Bloomsbury Forge near Urbana, the two operations being connected by barge along the Monocacy and Bennett Creek, and by Mount Ephraim and mountain roads built by the early enterpriser.”
Roger Johnson’s principal home is still standing about a half mile from Rock Hall. He died in 1835 at the age of 82 and may, or may not, be buried in Mount Olivet. Our records refute this claim, however there is a memorial stone for him here in Area H, supposedly erected at the time of a re-interment around 1915. Roger Johnson was originally buried in a small family cemetery at Bloomsbury, which no longer exists. I mentioned this in a story written back in May of 2017 on Roger Johnson’s grandson, Dr. James Thomas Johnson, Jr. (1828-1899). This gentleman’s father of the same name (Dr. James Thomas Johnson, Sr. (1794-1867)) would inherit Bloomsbury mansion house (on Thurston Road) the principal residence of his father Roger Johnson. James Thomas Johnson, Sr. was the brother of Joseph A. Johnson (1790-1835), the father of the fore-mentioned Dr. William Hilleary Johnson. Joseph would acquire Rock Hall, perhaps at the time of its building.
Dr. William H. Johnson was born in 1827 at Rock Hall and spent a great deal of his adult life in Adamstown. He spent his childhood at Rock Hall, owned today by Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. The old dwelling has walls that are eighteen inches thick, and the wood-work is in perfect condition.
After his graduation from the University of Maryland, Dr. William H. Johnson married Laura Brashear in 1860 and, like his brother James Thomas Johnson, served in the Confederate army during the whole period of the war as a physician. At one point, his young family was positioned in Missouri where he was stationed during the Trans-Mississippi campaign. Dr. Johnson continued in the medical profession after the conflict, and for many years was associated with his son Thomas, Jr. at Adamstown.
The couple had five children, all of whom are buried in Mount Olivet. Mrs. Laura B. Johnson died in 1895, and Dr. Thomas H. Johnson would join her here in 1901. Two years later, an adult daughter, named Laura Brashear for her mother, would be buried next to her parents in Mount Olivet’s Area Q/Lot 243. In time, Laura’s sister, Mary Louisa Johnson, would share the same gravestone upon her death in 1952.
A few feet away is the final resting place of Anne Elizabeth “Lizzie” Johnson, who had married Robert Moffett. Mrs. Moffett was the mother of four and died in 1917. Behind her grave is that of brother Dr. Thomas Brashear Johnson, Jr., who had a very good reputation as being one of the best surgeons in western Maryland. He passed in 1925 and has an ornate Celtic Cross monument over his grave. Both stones are as artistic as they are beautiful.
That leaves one remaining stone in this interesting collection of rocks that vary drastically from one another like chocolates in a Whitman sampler. The last monument to talk about is the most unique of all. While it lacks physical beauty, it more than makes up for it in personality. I only know this fact because of a special iron plaque screwed into this boulder’s backside. It begins with a title: “A Wish Fulfilled.” While it differs from every stone in the lot and section, it is one of the most fascinating in all of Mount Olivet. You see, this memorial to Mr. and Mrs. William Channing relates to the family heritage site of Rock Hall in more ways than one. We better understand by perusing the affixed placard.
So, this rock boulder of gray sandstone was quarried at the Rock Hill property as were those that make up the Rock Hill mansion house, not to mention the nearby Monocacy Aqueduct, one of the most significant history spots and architectural marvels in western Maryland.
Mr. William Channing Johnson was born on March 7th, 1866 according to Ancestry.com, although a plaque on his stone gives 1865 as a birthdate. The obituary below from the Frederick Post (Dec 11, 1933) paints a nice picture of the life of William C. Johnson.
William Channing Johnson died on December 10th, 1933 at his home in northwest Washington, DC. His funeral service would be held there. Mr. Johnson's body would be transported to Frederick and placed in the family lot in Area Q. I’d be curious as to the preparation of Mr. Johnson’s burial boulder. Was it in storage for years before his death, or was it gotten at or around his time of passing? Regardless, it was a special “wish” this gentleman had, and was successfully fulfilled. This stone not only represents a special geographical location, but more so a Frederick County familial heritage going back three generations.
“Rock On!,” as they say!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: After originally publishing this story, my faithful assistant Marilyn Veek told me of yet another interesting, "au naturel" grave marker. It is a much newer addition to Mount Olivet and can be found in our Area TJ. This marks the grave of John W. Gastorf (1940-2020). From the brief text on the plaque, this small boulder seems to be very fitting of the mark of this man.
About an hour’s drive of Mount Olivet Cemetery is an old graveyard in the northeast corner of Carroll County, just below the Mason-Dixon Line. This hallowed ground began as the burying location for Zion Union Church, formed in 1760, long before the surrounding town of Manchester came into being.
The original log church house is long gone as it served two congregations over its first century of existence—German Reformed and Lutheran. Each group worshiped on alternate Sundays and buried their dead here. New immigrants, many of whom were Germans from Pennsylvania, arrived in the area and caused church membership to grow. This eventually led the two congregations to amicably separate in 1862.
The Reformed Congregation became the Trinity Reformed Church, today known as the Trinity United Church of Christ. The present building was begun during the Civil War and completed in June of 1864. Located on the corners of York and Church Streets, the steeple is the highest point in Manchester and appears on the town’s logo. The 700-pound bell within the steeple was purchased at a cost of 55 cents a pound and continues to summon people to worship each Sunday. The sound reverberates out across the many grave monuments that pepper the adjoining landscape. One of these belongs to William A. Stultz and his wife, Edna (Wink) Stultz.
The cemetery is filled with Edna’s Wink family relatives boasting stones of various shapes and designs. In contrast, the Stultz’ final resting place is punctuated with a marker about as plain and simple as a memorial monument can possibly be. It’s a footstone including both decedents’ names, but devoid of birth or death dates. This is a true oddity. The Findagrave.com website does, however, remove some of the vital mystery of this grave plot. It provides Edna’s birth year as 1877, and death year as 1948. William A. Stultz’ year of birth is listed as 1876, but no death year is given.
I question why no one could find Mr. Stultz’s date of death, because I discovered the event as “front-page news,” being highly publicized, and personally eye-witnessed by hundreds of people.
You see, William A. Stultz became the last person executed at the old Frederick County Jail. The building still stands and is just a few blocks away from Mount Olivet on West South Street. Today, this location serves home to the Frederick Rescue Mission, positioned at 419 West South Street.
Although William is buried in Manchester, instead of here in Mount Olivet, another individual is proverbially “resting in peace” within our peaceful confines as a result of Stultz’ callous actions. This gentleman was a beloved citizen who worked as one of our early policemen. His name was John Henry Adams. Before I get to “Johnny” Adams, I want to take an opportunity to paint a brief picture of the guilty party who literally “hung his head” through an ill-fated response to law enforcement officers paying a visit to his home at 135 W. 4th Street on August 9th, 1922.
William Alexander Stultz was born February 6th, 1876. My research is not definitive, but I believe he was born in the Uniontown/Union Bridge area of Carroll County, MD, the son of William Stultz (a laborer and fence-maker) and wife Ann.
After attending local schools in Carroll County, William seemed to follow in his father’s footsteps as a laborer. He would marry Edna Mae Winks on June 15th, 1899 and can be found living on Westminster’s West Main Street in the 1900 US Census. His parents also lived in Carroll County’s “county seat” at this time. Interestingly, our subject (William) is listed as having the profession of that of a bicycle dealer.
By 1910, the William A. Stultz family was living in downtown Frederick on W. 4th Street with the addition of two children: Josephine age 7, and Belschner age 6. William’s occupation is shown as that of a plumber and I found several mentions of him being an active member of the Junior Fire Company.
Nothing much changed throughout the following decade safe for the occurrence of World War I and the Spanish Flu Pandemic. I found William’s draft registration, but he was too old to be drafted at 42. A city commercial directory shows Stultz as a plumber who worked out of his own home, a fact proved again by the 1920 census.
Somewhere along the way, Mr. Stultz became fascinated with “plumbing” of another kind—that of the items used in the making moonshine. Unfortunately, this would wind up being the death of him.
That leads us to that fateful day in August of 1922. To set the scene, we should jump back a few months to June of that year. William A. Stultz was arrested for bootlegging and fined $200. In lieu of the fine, our subject opted for a 40-day imprisonment.
One week later, an article in the local newspaper provided information that William and wife Edna were living separately, and the couple’s 17-year-old son, Belschner, had been ordered by a local court to live with his mother in Baltimore while his father was serving his sentence. Signs of impending trouble were certainly in the air as Mr. Stultz would be chastised by court officials for apparently encouraging his son to run away from home (to avoid being sent to Baltimore to live with his mom).
By my calculations, William A. Stultz would have served out his sentence by mid-July. Once released, it appears that he was understandably in dire straits for money, exemplified by him actually serving time instead of paying the assessed $200/fine. While in jail, however, he had no opportunity to make money through his plumbing business, or in any other way. As bills mounted, so did his troubles.
In early August, a civil judgment of $30 was served to Stultz, resulting from him not paying rent for his home at the corner of Bentz and Fourth streets. Refusal, or inability, to pay this fine led to officers being dispatched to take possession of Stultz’ car on the morning of August 9th, 1922.
Deputy Sheriffs Charles W. Smith and Allen Bartgis paid a visit to Mr. Stultz and informed him of the reason for their visit. Things did not go as planned, as you can probably guess. My friend, and history mentor, John Asbury succinctly picks up the story from here in his book …And all our Yesterdays: A chronicle of Frederick County, Maryland published in 1997:
“Stultz objected strenuously, perhaps because he had three stills in his house and feared a search of his property. He grabbed a shotgun, and opened fire on the deputies, wounding both with buckshot. A call went out immediately to Frederick City Police for assistance. Officers John Henry Adams, Martin J. Walsh, and James P. Painter answered.
Adams went to the front door and called out to Stultz. Receiving no answer, he kicked in the door, and he and Walsh entered. Stultz opened fire, hitting Adams in the neck. The officer staggered into the street and fell, mortally wounded. Stultz surrendered an hour later, after several more shots were exchanged.”
The front page of the Frederick News shared details of the tragic event and the subsequent arrest of Stultz.
In the days and weeks to follow, the papers carried editorials and more details associated with Officer Adams untimely death, funeral, and the plight of his family. Readers also learned of the conviction and steps towards an administration of justice for defendant William A. Stultz.
To give a little more background on the victim, John Henry Adams was born on August 3rd, 1874 in Frederick, the son of Henry Andrew Adams and Margaret (Fishbach). He grew up on North Bentz Street and attended local city schools. He can be found in the 1880 US Census living with his widowed mother and siblings on the east side on North Bentz between Sixth and Seventh streets.
John's father, Henry Andrew Adams, had died tragically earlier in this year while performing his job. He too was a Frederick City policeman, and only 30 years of age. Apparently he was struck in the back of the head by an assailant who had wrapped a brick in a handkerchief. This info is in our cemetery records but I couldn't locate in newspapers.
Our records also state that Henry Adams had suffered with heart disease, and this is given as the true cause of death. Mr. Adams would later succumb to the wounds received from this unfortunate event or the heart disease. Regardless, this loss widowed "Johnny's" mother and took a father away from John and his younger brothers.
Henry Andrew Adams was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery's Area H/216 on April 26th, 1880. This was two days after his death. His grave site boasts a very nice marble monument, that today includes the names of parents (Andrew and Catherine) and son, Charles who died In October, 1881.
"Johnny" Adams got married in 1898 and can be found working at the Ox Fibre Brush Company in the 1900 and 1910 US Census records. He performed various jobs, including that as a cutter. John Adams and family were living at 274 W. Fifth Street in Frederick.
Before I get back to the tragedy that beset Officer Adams, I wanted to share a small sampling of the many newspaper articles that can be found on him in the local papers of the early 20th century. He appears to have started his career in law enforcement around 1913.
On August 10th, the Frederick County Court recalled the federal grand jury to probe the murder of Officer Adams. A day later, large crowds would attend his funeral here at Mount Olivet.
Adams was buried in his family plot in Area Q/Lot 177. I found it interesting to learn that Frederick City mayor Lloyd C. Culler and his Board of Aldermen were listed as the party responsible for handling the arrangements for Officer Adams’ service. John H. Adams would be laid to rest in a plot that contained his first wife Anna “Elizabeth” (Biser) Adams (1879-1916), five-month-old daughter Annabelle Biser Adams (1916), and son Leon Henry Adams (1899-1903). The children’s gravesite is marked with a beautiful cherub monument, a popular style that can also be found elsewhere throughout our cemetery as well.
At the time of his death, Officer Adams would leave five children and a widow in second wife, Rubie Adams. The town rallied to raise nearly $5,000 to assist this family in need. In the days to follow, it was reported that authorities found three stills belonging to Stultz, and a Grand Jury began a probe which led to a Montgomery County petit jury being recruited to try the defendant for murder.
On August 29th (1922), the Frederick News announced that 11 jurors were impaneled to try William A. Stultz at Rockville in what would be a one-day case. A day later, the 46-year-old defendant would be pronounced guilty and sentenced to death by hanging by a three-judge panel consisting of Hammond Urner, Glenn H. Worthington, and Edward C. Peter. The defendant would be removed to the Frederick County jail to await his execution.
Throughout September and early October, efforts were made to have Stultz pronounced insane and another included the circulation of a petition to have his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment. Neither strategy worked, and the same can be said with a late October order by Maryland governor Albert C. Ritchie calling for an evaluation of Stultz by the State Lunacy Commission.
The death warrant was read to William A. Stultz on October 13th. Defense attorneys held out hope for the chance for a new trial, but this was overruled on November 8th.
William A. Stultz fate was cast, and in the early morning of November 10th, 1922, William A. Stultz would become the the last person hanged at the Frederick County Jail. The time was 6:30am.
Stultz went to the gallows still blaming everyone but himself for his actions, including the police officers involved. Hundreds of spectators looked on as the former Frederick plumber and resident of W. 4th Street took his last breath. Afterwards, his body was taken to Manchester for burial.
Six of the leading players in the court case and hanging are buried in Mount Olivet. These include: Albert Gannon who drove the defendant to Baltimore in an effort to avoid a possible lynching; two of the court justices who handed down the sentence of death in Hammond Urner and Glen Worthington; Stultz's counsel Sherman P. Bowers; Sheriff James Alonza Jones who pulled the lever to open the trap door of the gallows; and States Attorney Aaron Anders whom Stultz blamed for not only Adams' death, but also his own.
On January 1st, 1923, a new state law became effective, mandating all executions be conducted at the Baltimore penitentiary. Meanwhile, the Adams family was initially cared for by the community, however, wife Rubie would re-locate to Sykesville in Carroll County, and shortly thereafter brought suit against the family in order to take up her share of the Adams estate.
William Stultz’s children were raised into adulthood by their mother, Edna. She would be buried next to William in 1948 completing this sad tale about a plain and lonely grave in Manchester, Maryland.
Meanwhile, here in Mount Olivet, the grave space of John Henry Adams was occupied much sooner than it ever should have been. The same could be said for two of John Henry Adams’ sons who would follow him to the grave shortly thereafter with Marshall Earl Adams (1907-1925) and Leon Maynard Adams (1904-1928). Their final resting places are marked by a simplistic footstone, not unlike that of the man who murdered their father, however, vital dates are included.
John Henry Adam’s other son, John Quincy Adams (1910-1991), can also be found in Area Q/Lot 177 with his wife Nannie. (Note: Read last week’s “Story in Stone” entitled “Hail to the Chief.”) Officer Adams’ oldest daughter Lulu Ella (1902-1988) can be found in Area FF/Lot 75 with husband Walter Hugh Wills, Sr. His youngest daughter, Margaret Louise (1914-1955), married Harry Lee Wachter and is buried in Area X/Lot 65.
Lastly, I found the gravesites of Deputy Sheriff Charles W. Smith (1883-1948) and police partner Allen Spencer Bartgis (1887-1962). These were the deputies who came to impound Stultz’s car. I also located the gravesites of Johnny Adams’ colleagues with the Frederick City Police who accompanied the slain officer on that fateful morning. These were James Pascal Painter (1876-1943), and Martin Joseph Walsh (1880-1935), a native New Yorker also shot by Stultz who would go on to serve as Frederick’s chief of police for seven years. Walsh is not in Mount Olivet, but was laid to rest in an old churchyard much like Stultz—Charlesville’s Old Zion Reformed Cemetery, (today known as Faith United Church of Christ Cemetery) located off Opossumtown Pike.
Unlike Officer John H. Adams, these gentlemen were lucky not to come to Mount Olivet (or Zion Reformed) much sooner thanks to the rage that manifested itself in William A. Stultz in early August, 1922.
Presidents’ Day, officially Washington's Birthday, is a holiday in the United States celebrated on the third Monday of February to honor all persons who served in the office of president of the United States. The federal holiday specifically honors George Washington, who led the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolutionary War, presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and was the first president of the United States.
From 1879-1971, Washington's Birthday was celebrated on February 22nd. Thanks to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, it was moved to the third Monday in February, which can occur from February 15 to the 21st. The day eventually also became known as Presidents' Day and is most often an occasion to remember all United States presidents, or to honor Abraham Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays together.
Twenty-five years before the first observance of the first Presidents’ holiday, Mount Olivet Cemetery opened its gates to burials. This was late May of 1854, interestingly occurring during the presidency of Franklin Pierce. Mr. Pierce, a New Hampshire native, had started his term in March of 1853, beginning what historians regard as a time of apparent tranquility (1853-1857).
The ”presidential” website, Whitehouse.gov, says of our 14th president:
“By pursuing the recommendations of southern advisers, Pierce—a New Englander —hoped to ease the divisions that led eventually to Civil War. But his policies, far from preserving calm, hastened the disruption of the Union.”
I was intrigued to learn that President Pierce came into office with a heavy heart. Just two months before his inauguration, he and his wife saw their 11 year-old son killed before their very eyes when the train they were traveling on wrecked. Grief-stricken, Pierce entered his term in office “nervously exhausted.”
Franklin Pierce was born on November 23rd, 1804 in Hillsboro, New Hampshire in the southern part of the state. Thirty years later, he would marry Jane Means Appleton, a minister’s daughter. Jane Pierce has been described as shy, devoutly religious, and pro-temperance—encouraging Pierce to abstain from alcohol. She was somewhat gaunt, and constantly ill from tuberculosis and psychological ailments. Mrs. Pierce despised politics and especially disliked Washington, DC, creating a tension that would continue throughout Pierce's political rise.
Sadly, the Pierces were no strangers to death and cemeteries as all three of their offspring died in childhood. Franklin Jr. (1836) succumbed in infancy, while Frank Robert (1839-1843) passed at the age of four from epidemic typhus. The cruelest blow of all was the fore-mentioned death of Benjamin (1841 –1853) in the train accident.
On January 6th, 1853, weeks after his election, the President-elect and his family were traveling from Boston by train when their car derailed and rolled down an embankment near Andover, Massachusetts. Both Franklin and Jane Pierce survived, but their only remaining son, 11-year-old Benjamin, was crushed to death in the wreckage, his body nearly decapitated. Pierce was not able to hide the gruesome sight from his wife. They both suffered severe depression afterward, which likely affected Pierce's performance as president according to historians.
Franklin Pierce began his presidency in mourning. When he departed New Hampshire for his inauguration, Jane chose not to accompany him. It has been said that she often wondered if the train accident was divine punishment for her husband's pursuit and acceptance of high office. Mrs. Pierce even wrote a lengthy letter of apology to "Benny" for her failings as a mother. She would avoid social functions for much of her first two years as First Lady, making her public debut in that role to great sympathy at the annual public reception held at the White House on New Year's Day, 1855.
Franklin Pierce, then the youngest man ever to be elected president, hailed an era of peace and prosperity at home in his inaugural address, and urged a vigorous assertion of US interests in its foreign relations, including the "eminently important" acquisition of new territories. "The policy of my Administration", said the new president, "will not be deterred by any timid forebodings of evil from expansion." Avoiding the word "slavery", historians believe he emphasized his desire to put the "important subject" to rest, while maintaining a peaceful union. In his inaugural speech, he also alluded to his own personal tragedy, telling the crowd, "You have summoned me in my weakness, you must sustain me by your strength."
Leaving office in 1857, the Pierces returned home to New England, and spent the next few years traveling the world. Jane would die of tuberculosis in 1863. As for the former president, his health began to decline in mid-1869 and he resumed heavy drinking despite his deteriorating physical condition. Pierce returned to Concord that September, suffering from severe cirrhosis of the liver, knowing he would not recover. A caretaker was hired on his behalf.
In his final days, none of his family members were present. He would die at 4:35 am on Friday, October 8th, 1869, at the age of 64. President Grant declared a day of national mourning, while newspapers across the country carried lengthy front-page stories examining Pierce's colorful and controversial career. Franklin Pierce was interred next to his wife and two of his sons in the Minot enclosure at Concord's Old North Cemetery.
Looking back, my first encounter with the name Franklin Pierce was the television show M*A*S*H, the comedy-drama that centered on a group of doctors and their respective support staff during the Korean War. The lead character was lovingly known by his nickname "Hawkeye," but his real name was Capt. Benjamin Franklin Pierce.
Here at Mount Olivet, we have three people reposing on our grounds who were named in honor of President Franklin Pierce. The first born of these was Franklin Pierce Benner (1853-1946). He came into this world on January 1st (1853) just five days before the ill-fated train wreck that claimed his presidential namesake's young son. I found Mr. Benner’s obituary in an old paper, and his gravesite is in Area D/Lot 10.
I found a second, and third, decedent possessing Franklin Pierce’s name. These are a father and son duo: Franklin Pierce Miller, Sr. (1904-1939) and Franklin Pierce Miller, Jr. (1925-1980). These gentlemen are both buried in Area LL/Lot 197. Mr. Miller, Sr. was taken in the prime of life, as a heart attack apparently felled this popular barber who once practiced his tonsorial trade on N. Market St.
I read recently that there are plenty of reasons for choosing a particular name for an infant, from honoring a relative to merely liking a sound. In early American history, Puritans often named children after virtues such as Faith, Patience or Hope. They also utilized family surnames as first names. This eventually expanded to include people who did not have a personal relationship with the parents.
I’ve always been interested in the naming of children after famous people from history. Typically, this occurs in the form of first and middle name preceding a family surname. A while back, I wondered about the most common "historical personage name" found in Mount Olivet? If you guessed George Washington, you are correct.
We have 35 definitive cases. However, our records show a great number of George “W’s,” thus lending cause to the fact that we possibly may have the opportunity for up to 103 such instances. By George, I cannot tell a lie—I really didn’t feel like putting in countless hours researching this angle for an exact final number.
“After the Revolution this became a way to honor famous men,” wrote Cleveland K. Evans in the Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming. The author goes on to say, “Presidents like Jefferson and Madison; statesmen like Franklin” and others “provided popular male names.”
As far as Mount Olivet is concerned, the earliest born individual named for our first president is George Washington Ent, a veteran the War of 1812. He was appointed as a captain of a company in the 16th Regiment of the Maryland Militia on August 1st, 1814. He also served as captain of the Frederick Town Blues Company of Infantry in the 3rd Regiment of the Maryland Militia from August 24th to September 30th, 1814.
Capt. Ent was born on November 29th, 1777 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, located merely six miles from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. His life’s journey brought him to Frederick and late in life to western Ohio. He died in early 1856 in Cincinnati. Capt. Ent's body was brought back to Frederick and placed in the Ent vault within the new Lutheran Graveyard--once located near the intersection of East Street and E. Church St. extended, today the site of Everedy Square. His remains would be moved to Mount Olivet in 1906 and buried in Area B/Lot 1. In 2014, Ent's burial site finally received a marker as part of a War of 1812 "Home of the Brave" grant project.
George Washington Beall was born in mid-April 1801, exactly 16 months after his namesake had died. Beall was part of the prominent family of northwestern Montgomery County. He lived until 1887 and is buried in Area H/370.
A familiar name associated with newspapers in Frederick is Delaplaine. Although the spelling on his gravestone differs a bit (likely an error), George Washington Delaplaine was born in 1808 and worked as a miller, as did his brother, Theodore Crist Delaplaine. George's nephew, William T. Delaplaine (1860-1895) was the man who started publishing the Frederick Daily News in 1883. His obit appeared in this publication in April of 1892. He is buried in Mount Olivet’s Area D/Lot 50.
This lifelong educator in the public schools and his own church was a resident of Buckeystown. Born February 29th, 1832, George Washington Blessing was a resident of Buckeystown, located within Carrollton Manor, an early land grant that appears in name on the Declaration of Independence thanks to one of Gen. George Washington’s compatriots of 1776, fellow Declaration signer Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Charles grandfather (Charles Carroll) supposedly "purchased" the land from native peoples and had the 10,000 initial tract surveyed in 1723.
Speaking of the Declaration, the famed day of Independence, July 4th, was the birthday of George Washington Pole in the year 1821. Mr. Pole was laid to rest in Mount Olivet’s Area E/Lot 83. He was a member of Maryland’s Constitutional Convention of 1867. He died in 1886.
Another Carrollton Manor resident with the first and middle names mirroring the moniker of the father of our country is George Washington Padgett. Born in 1812, Padgett was viewed as an outstanding agriculturalist and performed civic duties to his community including a stint as a county commissioner. Mr. Padgett’s final resting place can be found in Area Q/Lot 185.
Born in 1817, George Washington Warfield was a successful dry goods merchant who spent most of his career serving customers along the National Pike. His first shop was in New Market, and he later conducted business in Middletown. He eventually went to Keedysville in Washington County.
One more “G. W.” to highlight for you is George Washington Thompson who can be found in Area B/Lot 33. Thompson was a Union soldier in the American Civil War. He served as member of Company C in the 1st Maryland Regiment’s Potomac Home Brigade Infantry.
This guy is somewhat of a mystery as Findagrave.com claims he died on February 1st, 1863. Meanwhile over on Ancestry.com, I found a military issue headstone order for George Washington Thompson at Mount Olivet stating that the decedent died October 25th, 1864. Our cemetery database gives me a death date for this veteran as 1862. Oh, the joy of genealogical research!
In searching old newspapers, I found a marriage announcement for G. W. Thompson from November, 1862. I also learned of the death of a Pvt Thompson of the Potomac Home Brigade earlier that year in February, which would contradict the fact that these were the same person. I'm perplexed and will simply leave this conundrum with a quote from George Washington, himself, "It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one."
In the United States, presidents have long been seen as exemplars of national values, which made their names particularly meaningful, as they were both familiar and carried positive associations. Frank Nuessel, author of The Study of Names: A Guide to the Principles and Topics, says that sometimes a famous person will have “caught the consciousness of the public, and a lot of people name their children after a famous person hoping that by giving them this name they’ll have some of the characteristics of the person.” In a sense, says Nuessel, it’s sort of like “name magic, by using the name of a famous person, that will rub off on their child.” The idea that a name could provide a link between a newborn and a great man continued at least until the mid-20th century.
I was a little surprised to find only 10 individuals tied to the name of our beloved 16th president, he of copper penny fame—Abraham Lincoln. We have only two instances of people that used Abraham as a first name with Lincoln as a middle name The remaining eight had Lincoln as a middle name.
Other standout presidents, in name only I must add as they come with some baggage, include Andrew Jackson, our 7th president, and Woodrow Wilson (# 28).
If there is one piece of useless presidential history I’ve carried with me since childhood, it’s the birthdate of our 13th president, Millard Fillmore. He was born January 7th, 1800. Of course, we share a common birthday as I basically “Know Nothing” more about this president who actually preceded Franklin Pierce. In quickly perusing Fillmore’s biography in Encyclopedia Britannica, Fillmore's presidency is defined by an insistence on federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which ultimately resulted in alienating the North while leading to the destruction of the Whig Party.
We have nine people interred in Mount Olivet who were named for this fellow whose life story reads like a classic American "rags to riches" tale. Millard Fillmore was born into a poor family and raised in a log cabin in Cayuga County in upstate New York. The oldest son of nine children, Milliard had little, formal education and would never attend college. However, he overcame his background and rose to the highest office in the land.
Millard's first job had him serving as an apprentice for a cloth maker, but he didn't like the work. He taught himself how to read and write and also worked on improving his vocabulary. Eventually, Fillmore was able to get a job clerking for a judge. He took this opportunity to learn the law and, by the age of 23, he had passed the bar exam and opened his own law firm.
Millard Fillmore passed on March 8th, 1874 and was laid to rest in Buffalo, New York’s beautiful Forrest Lawn Cemetery.
I guess if you were giving your kid the name Millard, it likely would have felt sacrilegious not to make his middle name "Fillmore." The only other Millard I can actually think of (off the top of my head) is Millard Tydings, former US congressman and Maryland state legislator from Havre de Grace.
The name may be familiar to you as a traveler as it is his name adorning the Interstate 95 bridge over the Susquehanna River at his hometown. I was certain this career politician, who lived from 1890-1961, possessed the middle name of Fillmore, but was miserably mistaken. A quick search of his Wikipedia listing clearly shows his middle name of Evelyn. Go figure—Evelyn. I saved face, however, by finding that Mr. Tydings father was actually named Millard Fillmore Tydings.
As for some Millard Fillmores in Mount Olivet, here are a few pictures of a few of their gravestones. Interesting each of the three below have sons (Jr.s) of the same name buried here.
So, I've thus far presented you with representation (and "legacy in name") of six of our former US presidents when it comes to Frederick's Mount Olivet Cemetery. As said earlier, the tradition of naming individuals after presidents cooled in the 1940s with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We have only one "Truman" in Mount Olivet as a surname. Ironically, this is George Washington Truman (1830-1831). We have four others with Truman as either a first or middle name, but none occurred during, or after, the 33rd president’s stint in office.
Had the naming fad stayed popular, I bet World War II "general-turned-president" Dwight D. Eisenhower would have been a highly popular choice. It still may have been, though it's too early to tell—if you know what I mean.
At present, we have a few infants born in the post WWII era. One is "Dwight D." here in our Babyland section (1948), and another is Dwight Urner who was the son of WW1 and WW2 veteran Joseph Urner. Mr. Urner came from a prominent family here in town, and was also a noted sculptor. We have three of his works here in Mount Olivet in the form of busts for Roger Brooke Taney, Gov. Thomas Johnson and Professor Amon Burgee.
I’m sure "time will tell" (for future interments) as Ike’s presidency was from 1953-1961. No rush at all to any of our cemetery lot-holders possessing this great name.
While I’m on President Eisenhower, he will forever be synonymous with Frederick County, Maryland “name lore” as he is responsible for renaming the presidential retreat on Catoctin Mountain near Thurmont originally known as “Shangri-La.” He thought the name was a little too fancy for an old farm boy and career soldier from Nebraska, so he named it after one of his grandsons—David.
A rare name, Eisenhower, does appear in the form of an un-anglicized German original spelling within Mount Olivet as Eisenhauer. Older residents certainly remember Eisenhauers store in downtown Frederick operated by some members of this family, although founder John Eisenhauer is buried in St. Johns Catholic Cemetery. Here in Mount Olivet, we have later generations in Joseph Francis Eisenhauer, Jr., a longtime employee of the Ox Fibre Company, and son Joseph "Joe" Francis Eisenhauer, III (1901-1976), a columnist and veteran writer for the Frederick News-Post in the fifties and sixties and seventies.
We are bound to one day see John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s name in some form, but I doubt there will be a Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter—although the latter is regarded as one of the weakest presidents, no one can argue that he is one of the finest fellow humans our country has ever had based on his continuous humanitarian and charity work. We also may see a spike in "Ronald Reagans," but I think the fad ends there in the modern era with the possible exceptions of some "Baracks."
In closing, I’d like to salute all our presidents up through FDR, with a namesake found in Mount Olivet. Happy Presidents’ Day and I hope you include in your thoughts our 13th and 14th presidents along with the usual cool kids such as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, etc. I will leave you with this sampling I'd like to call the "Mount Olivet Hall of Presidents."
With two kids currently in high school, and two freshly out in college, I’ve been reminded of the English literature that I read for grade school and college myself, many moons ago. I don’t know why I have not chosen to further explore, or re-read, the writings of William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer or John Milton over the last 30 years on my own volition, but I just haven’t unless asked to help my boys with an English assignment here or there. I must confess, I was eerily inspired to read a certain work of Eric Blair this past summer, which I did on the pleasurable confines of the Delaware seashore. Perhaps, it was simply a nostalgic sojourn back to the year I actually read this work of the same title, or maybe I just wanted to get a glimpse of the future ahead😉
Speaking of English writers and the future ahead, Valentine's Day, as mentioned in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is just a few days away as I publish this on February 12th, 2022. In particular it was mentioned regrettably by the Danish noblewoman Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
"To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more."
William Shakespeare wrote this passage around the year 1600, which can be found in Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5. I was curious of how, and why Valentine's Day came about, as Shakespeare helps date the “over-commercialized” holiday of love we celebrate today. And yes, you are in the right blog, as my trigger lies in the fact that we have many buried here in Mount Olivet with the name Valentine.
Wikipedia is a simple stop for shedding a basic light on what we are talking about with Valentine’s Day, but from today’s perspective.
“Also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, this holiday is celebrated annually on February 14. It originated as a Christian feast day honoring one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and, through later folk traditions, has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.
There are a number of martyrdom stories associated with various Valentines connected to February 14, including an account of the imprisonment of Saint Valentine of Rome for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire in the third century. According to an early tradition, Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer. Numerous later additions to the legend have better related it to the theme of love: an 18th-century embellishment to the legend claims he wrote the jailer's daughter a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell before his execution; another addition posits that Saint Valentine performed weddings for Christian soldiers who were forbidden to marry.
The Feast of Saint Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 to be celebrated on February 14 in honor of Saint Valentine of Rome, who died on that date in AD 269. The day became associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries when notions of courtly love flourished, apparently by association with the "lovebirds" of early spring. In 18th-century England, it grew into an occasion in which couples expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.”
Hopefully that served as a fruitful public service, or refresher course for you, as it did me. I currently don’t have any FaceBook friends or acquaintances with the first name of Valentine, however I did have an old high school friend whose father held the name. As said earlier, the Christian name is something that can be found on numerous stones in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Valentine is a well-known last name from early Frederick history, found more prominently in the northern reaches of the county as a moniker of German immigrants. I have seen stones with this surname in cemeteries in, and around, Thurmont, with particular prevalence at the Moravian graveyard at Graceham, which dates back to colonial times.
Down here in Frederick's Mount Olivet Cemetery, we only have two individuals with this surname, and this is more of a recent occurrence, as the first of these two decedents’ passings dates back to the year of my high school graduation (1985). However, the inurnment of this individual's ashes (cremated remains) would not happen until June, 2018. Richard Alvin Valentine (1923-1985) can be found in a wall crypt within our Chapel Mausoleum.
The second Valentine (as a last name) to be interred here in Mount Olivet is Genevieve (Genny) Marguerite Valentine, loving wife of Franklin Leroy Valentine, Jr. for 46 years. Fittingly, Mrs. Valentine was a resident of Thurmont before her death on September 17th, 2020.
Born on July 13, 1941, in Frederick County, Maryland, she was the daughter of the late Andrew W. Altman and the late Lula M. Altman (Wiles). From her obituary, we learn that Genny worked early in her career for Price Electric/Airpax as an Executive Secretary and later a combination of secretary/buyer. Later, she worked for the federal government, first with the US Department of Energy and eventually retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as an accounting tech.
Mrs. Valentine was a lifelong member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Frederick and was a very organized person and took pride in her attention to detail in everything she touched. She enjoyed the times spent with her husband traveling across the United States and the fun rides in the Corvette. She loved to try out new recipes. She never took short cuts and always cooked from scratch; she was one of the best cooks ever.
Genny spent many hours tending to her vegetable garden, flower garden and shrubs. She also canned both fruits and vegetables so that she and her husband could enjoy later in the season. But she especially cherished loving, spoiling and taking care of her dear little buddy, “Teddy Bear,” a cute and sweet Tibetian Spaniel. She always made sure he got to "go for rides" like he always loved to...even if it meant making up an on-the-spot reason for doing so. Genny was a great wife, friend, soulmate and a very private person who will be missed deeply and remembered always for her kind, loving, generous spirit.
I was tickled to learn that Genny’s beloved dog “Teddy Bear” is buried in our Faithful Friends Pet Cemetery area located behind our mausoleum complex, not far from her gravesite.
Finding we had two individuals and one pet with the last name of Valentine, I decided to search instances of Valentine as a middle name. Here, I discovered ten Valentines. These include the following, which I’ve decide to illustrate as a gallery. (Move mouse over thumbnails for caption info)
There may be additional folks in Mount Olivet with Valentine as a middle name as we may not have them recorded as such in our records.
This brings me to Valentine as used as a first name. I found 13 instances within Mount Olivet, however, I admit, there could be a few more as I can’t search our cemetery database by first name only. I could only accomplish this through the Findagrave site (wwwfindagrave.com). Our Friends of Mount Olivet membership group has been working to add to the amazing work of FindaGrave volunteers who have recorded our cemetery’s holdings on the popular internet offering as it only contains only 88% of our known interments.
I learned that some of these Valentines are related to some of the "middle-name Valentines" mentioned above. The same family links holds true to some of the Valentines possessing this first name as well. In one particular case, I have three gentlemen who hold the name of Valentine Brunner. I’d like to give these individuals special focus before naming the remaining ten others.
The earliest born “Valentine” buried within Mount Olivet is one Valentine Brunner born April 3rd, 1758. This gentleman has a memorial page on our MountOlivetVets.com site as he was a soldier in the American Revolution. In particular, Valentine served in the rank of Captain in Peter Mantz's Company of the Maryland Militia.
As far as Valentine’s patriotic service to our “new” country, he is listed as having been an “Associator” in December 1775. He enlisted as Private, on July 1st, 1776 for six months. He took the Oath of Allegiance, in 1778 and eventually received a pension for his service.
Not much more can be gleaned of his life outside of the obvious fact that he was related to one of Frederick’s earliest families—the Brunners of Schifferstadt, Ludwigshafen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. He was the son of Heinrich (Henry) Brunner (1715-1775) and wife Mary Magdalena Sellars (1718-1775). Valentine married Elizabeth Bohrer in 1803 and his last known home was located in the first block of E. Patrick Street.
Valentine’s dad came to America with family members including his father Joseph Brunner (1678-1753). They landed in Pennsylvania in 1729. According to German Reformed records, the Brunner family was known to be living in Lancaster (PA) at first but would migrate south to the Monocacy Valley of Maryland by the year 1736. Over a decade later, Frederick Town was founded and one year after, Henry and brothers Jacob and John, joined their father in purchasing land within the larger Tasker’s Chance tract from owner (and Frederick founder) Daniel Dulany. The Brunners would own tracts on Carroll Creek to the northwest of the earliest iteration of Frederick Town proper. Joseph would eventually deed his land named “Schifferstadt” to his youngest son, Elias, who would build the famed stone house of the same name which exists today as an agricultural museum.
Getting back to Shakespeare and asking his age-old question, “What’s in a name?,” I hypothesize that Valentine Brunner was named after a paternal uncle who died in Germany sometime around or before 1723.
Frederick diarist Jacob Engelbrecht makes mention of Valentine a few times in his celebrated diary, written between 1819-1878. Valentine was one of a handful of Revolutionary War veterans who were honored at a 4th of July celebration held in Peter Fout’s woods in 1838. Almost three years later to the day, Jacob Engelbrect would pen this entry on June 29th, 1841:
“Died this morning between 12 & 1 o’clock in the 84th year of his age Mr. Valentine Brunner, an old citizen of our town. He will be buried tomorrow on the German Reformed Graveyard in somewhat military style, being an old Revolutionary soldier.”
Interestingly, Engelbrecht makes a later note stating that Valentine was born April 3, 1758 thus making him 83 years, 2 months and 26 days at the time of his death. Valentine and wife Elizabeth (who died in 1854) were removed to Mount Olivet Cemetery shortly after its opening in 1854. They were placed in Area E/Lot 207 on January 19th, 1856.
Just a few feet away is the final resting place of Valentine Johann Brunner and wife Susannah (Bohrer) Brunner (1799-1884). Many would assume him to be the son of the fore-mentioned Valentine, but this is not the case. I sure got my genealogical fix when I went to connect the dots.
Our cemetery records clearly state that he was born on August 28th, 1797, son of Jacob Brunner (1760-1822) and wife Mary Magdeline Schneider. Jacob was a second cousin, once removed, from Valentine, the Revolutionary War soldier we just talked about, having descended from father Peter Brunner and grandfather, John Jacob Brunner (1703-1783) the immigrant from Germany who was a brother of Henry Brunner (the Rev War soldier’s dad).
I then attempted to link both the wives of these Valentine Brunners as they share the same maiden name of Bohrer, later anglicized to Boyer in some instances. I was unsuccessful in finding them as sisters, which seems unlikely because of a 25-year age gap between them, however I strongly believe they were cousins.
Valentine J. Brunner was a businessman, who at one point kept a shop near the intersection of N. Market and E. Church streets. I found a number of tidbits about this Valentine J. Brunner thanks to Jacob Engelbrecht’s diary. Since they were roughly the same age, I assume the two gentlemen had been friends since childhood.
We can spot a glimmer of Valentine’s sense of humor thanks to a guest inscription Engelbrecht allowed him to make in the diary in his own hand and dated September 19th, 1833:
“Married in Scott County, Kentucky on the 17th instant by the Reverend Barton W. Stone. Mr. Lewis Ramsburgh to Miss Susan B. D. Briscoe. So that friend Lewis went all the way to Kentucky to get himself a ‘rib’.”
Jacob Engelbrecht records Valentine as serving as a member and one of the directors of the Young Men’s Bible Society of Frederick City (1821 and 1824), one of the first depositors and directors in the Frederick Town Savings Institution (1831), Senior Director of the Independent Hose Company (1834), unsuccessful candidate for the Frederick Common Council (1837).
Engelbrecht recorded his friend’s premature death on Friday, November 3, 1837 at 5 o’clock PM:
“Died about an hour ago in the 41st year of his age, Mr. Valentine J. Brunner of our town, son of the late Mr. Jacob Brunner of Bentztown. Buried on the German Reformed graveyard. Born August 20th, 1797. Aged 40- years, 2 months and 14 days.”
A final diary entry by Jacob Engelbrecht described the sale of the family home:
“The Reverend John L. Pitts bought this day at publick sale the two-story brick house & storeroom, the property of the late Valentine J. Brunner, next to the corner of Church Street, in Market Street, for two-thousand, three-hundred and five dollars."
Saturday, January 19th, 1839
The grueling exercise in genealogy for Valentine John Brunner certainly helped me sleuth a third Valentine Brunner buried in Mount Olivet, while inadvertently leading me to one more through a middle name. I had clearly missed this while compiling my collection of 13 earlier in this story. Shame on me, as I missed John Valentine Brunner (1792-1844). This Mount Olivet resident is the younger brother of Valentine J. Brunner, and was commonly referred to as “John of J. Valentine Brunner”--the “J” of course denoting the brothers’ father Jacob Brunner (1760-1822). This is the name also inscribed on his ledger style tombstone in Mount Olivet’s Area E/Lot 90.
I quickly recalled my past experience with “John of J. Valentine Brunner” as one of our collection of War of 1812 veterans. Back in 2014, we had a few commemorations here at the cemetery for the 200th anniversary of the confusing “Second War for American Independence.” This conflict, however, has lasting importance for Mount Olivet as it made a household name out of Francis Scott Key thanks to his attendance at the Battle of Baltimore in September of 1814.
Also in 2014, Mount Olivet published a book during the anniversary year entitled Frederick’s Other City: War of 1812 Veterans which features biographies on our known 108 veterans of that conflict. John of J. Valentine Brunner, or simply “John Brunner” as we identified him, was one of these veterans. Here’s a portion of that bio:
"Third sergeant John Brunner served under Captain John Brengle from August 25th to September 19th, 1814 in the 1st Regiment, Maryland Militia. This company served at the entrenchments of the Battle of North Point in Baltimore. Afterwards, they were discharged there in Baltimore and welcomed back home as the heroic defenders."
John Brunner got married in 1816 to Anna Maria Stickel (b.1794), daughter of Valentine and Catherine Stickel. The couple would have three children, the first of which was named Valentine Stickel Brunner after his maternal grandfather. The other two children included Mary Ann Elizabeth (1820-1887) would one day marry prominent Frederictonian Louis Markell, and Lewis Augustus Brunner (1823-1886) who moved to Sandusky, Ohio and had a successful career as a newspaper publisher at that place. Mrs. Brunner would die in 1829 and was laid to rest in the same German Reformed Burying ground where Valentine Brunner and Valentine J(ohn) Bruner were buried in 1837 and 1841 respectively. John Brunner of J would marry again and have two additional children (Caroline and Ellen) with Sophia Doll.
John Brunner died on April 12th, 1844 and was buried beside his first wife in the German Reformed Graveyard. They would both be re-interred to Mount Olivet on June 3rd, 1858. Second wife Sophia died in 1868 and was also buried here in this lot (Area E/Lot 90).
Valentine Stickel Brunner was born May 20th, 1818 in Frederick. He would marry Margaret M. Pyfer (1817-1910) on March 8th, 1853. The couple would have two children: Frances Markell Brunner (1854-1857) and Virginia Brunner (1855-1911). They would take up residence on the south side of E. Patrick Street next to the old site of the Quynn home and hardware store.
In 1852, Valentine Stickel Brunner purchased Col. Alexander B. Hanson’s Grocery and Commission Store at the Frederick Railroad Depot on Carroll Street. Four years later, he and partner Lewis V. Scholl bought the depot warehouses from Lewis Birely for $5000. The 1859-60 Williams' Frederick Directory/City Guide lists Valentine S. Brunner as a Commission Agent and Forwarding and Wholesale Liquor Dealer.
In 1859, Valentine S. Brunner bought a two-story brick house on E. Patrick Street from Col. Hanson for $ 4500. This was located at the address today known as 14 E. Patrick Street, site of the Serendipity Market.
Valentine became well-known in town as the local agent for Adams Express Company here. A little background on this forerunner of modern shipping companies like UPS and Fed Ex could be found online:
In 1839, Alvin Adams, a produce merchant ruined by the Panic of 1837, began carrying letters, small packages and valuables for patrons between Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. He had at first a partner named Burke, who soon withdrew, and as Adams & Company, Adams rapidly extended his territory to New York City, Philadelphia and other eastern cities. By 1847, he had penetrated deeply into the South, and by 1850 he was shipping by rail and stagecoach to St. Louis. In 1855, the company was reorganized as the Adams Express Company.
By the time the Civil War started in 1861, Adams had operations throughout the American South, operating as Southern Express, led by Henry B. Plant. The company served as paymaster for both the Union and Confederate sides.
Mr. Brunner successfully weathered the American Civil War and continued in business for the next few decades until his death on December 8th, 1889. His obituary appeared in the Daily News, among other papers in the region.
Of additional interest, he was serving as president on Mount Olivet's Board of Directors and was also president of the Emmitsburg Turnpike's Board of Directors at the time of his death. Valentine Stickel Brunner was buried in Area E/Lot 90, a few feet away from his parents. His grave is adorned with a large monument that proudly displays his “lovely” first name.
Now for the best of the rest, ten more individuals who wore the Valentine first name when they were among the living:
So, there you have it—one can find Valentines throughout Mount Olivet Cemetery, 365 days a year. I hope you enjoyed this research jaunt, but a word to all you guys out there in need of a last minute gift for your respective sweethearts: Do NOT simply forward this “Story in Stone” to your better half (or crush), or entertain bringing them for a romantic walk/drive around the cemetery to view these grave sites in person! Flowers, chocolates and clever Hallmark cards will undoubtedly be far more effective.
Happy Valentine's Day, one and all, and thanks for your continued support of this humble blog, and our ongoing preservation efforts at Frederick's historic Mount Olivet Cemetery. Love to all of you!
This week’s episode is truly “A Story in Stone.” I have the unique job of researching and writing based on the premise of seeking out funerary monuments and markers in an effort to explore and explain the lives of past people, places and events. One experiences a special sense of contextual wonderment when encountering the actual gravestone of a gravestone maker. I’m talking about a “maker’s” personal monument over his own “final resting place.” It makes you question whether or not the mason formed his own stone before death, or if it was designed and crafted by an underling or colleague?
Here in Mount Olivet, we have plenty of men involved in this trade buried within our cemetery, surrounded by specimens of their talent, sweat and toil. You generally have to go back in time to find such gifted craftsman, folks who carved slabs of granite and marble with the tools of the trade in order to make both standard tombstones and ornate works of art with sculptured human figures and iconic Victorian Era symbols such as crosses, urns, flowers and columns. Today, most stones are machine made with extreme accuracy. I hope to share more about this earlier trade and its local masters buried here, possessing names such as Lough, Baker and Sifford.
A few years back, I was abruptly introduced to a former monument maker whom I was completely unfamiliar with. The event happened back in spring 2020, while I was taking pictures in the cemetery’s Area T for another story I was writing about a World War I soldier. A gentleman parked on a nearby lane and actually tracked me down. This was Mike Schaden, a retired local veterinarian, who (with his staff) cared for countless beloved pets for decades from the confines of his office on Opossumtown Pike, located on a bluff overlooking scenic US15 and my alma mater Thomas Johnson High School to the east. Schaden’s father was a veterinarian in Frederick and started his own practice in 1942. Mike went on to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and received his degree in 1972. He began practicing in upstate New York, but just a few years later, he purchased his father Harold Schaden’s practice here in town. In addition to a 47-year career, Mike also served the community in several other civic roles including two terms as a member of the Frederick County Public School’s Board of Education in the 2000s.
On the particular day in question, Mike had visited the cemetery office in search of me, as he was performing genealogy work and wanted to ask me some questions regarding his Mantz ancestors—another past topic of a past “Story in Stone.” Since retiring at the start of the year (2020), Mike now had time to perform family history research and had jumped in with both feet. After making official introductions to each other, and naming people we both had in common, I did my best to answer some of Mike’s queries as we roamed aimlessly around Area T. Whether by design or happenstance, we rounded the northeastern corner of the T section and Mike led me to the grave of his great-grandfather.
The first thing Mike shared about his ancestor was the fact that he was a monument maker here in Frederick. Mike and I began discussing the unique style of the monument, with what can best be described as having somewhat of a unique rough and “hand-hewn” appearance. We began looking in different directions, pointing out others of the same look and style and concluded that these were also the work of this craftsman over his 40+ year career in the trade.
I asked Mike to connect the genealogy dots for me, linking him to the man. He replied that his own mother was a woman named Anna Lee Schaden (1922-1997), whose maiden name was Etchison. Anna was the daughter of Carol Lee Etchison (1899-1977) and wife Emma Taylor (1900-1966). Emma’s father was the gentleman buried in front of us.
Howard Greenwood Taylor
Howard Greenwood Taylor was born in Baltimore on July 5th, 1875 to Thomas Taylor (1848-1912) and Agnes Lovell Taylor (1852-1938). The census of 1880 shows the family living on Sweet Aire Street in the Hampden neighborhood of northwest Baltimore, a few blocks east of Druid Hill Park, just inside today’s Jones Falls Expressway.
According to census records over the years, Howard’s father had a mixture of jobs including carpenter, huckster and watchman. Our subject grew up in “Charm City” and attained the equivalent of a fourth grade education. It is assumed he learned the trade of carpentry. He was already living in Frederick City when he married a Frederick County girl, originally from Libertytown, named Flora Ann Rippeon (1874-1944) on July 7th, 1896. This was just two days after his twenty-first birthday.
The couple can be found living in Frederick City on E. 6th Street by 1900. They were next door neighbors to Howard’s older sister Fannie (Taylor) Forsythe (1872-1909). Fannie had married James Pythias Forsythe (1871-1944) and from the census of 1900, both brothers-in-law were employed as stone cutters at this time.
Howard originally came to Frederick as a result of his brother-in-law, James. An advertisement in a local newspaper from December, 1895 announces the arrival in town of Mr. Forsythe, “a skilled granite and marble worker from Baltimore.” Mr. Forsythe was in the employ of Frank B. Sappington, the new owner of the J. E. Sifford tombstone works located at the northeast corner of E. 2nd Street and East Street. This is today’s home of the Road & Rails Museum. I theorize that James P. Forsythe summoned his brother-in-law (Howard) from Baltimore shortly thereafter to move to Frederick and assist him under Mr. Sappington.
The occupation of a stone cutter was certainly not an easy one as it not only took great strength to move marble and granite pieces, but the precision of a keen eye and steady hand, as cutting and inscription mistakes were devastating. In addition to grave monuments, it appears the gentlemen worked on other pieces such as table and countertops, and building ornamentation, steps, porches and curbing. While researching, I discovered a couple examples of the occupational hazards James would encounter.
The career would provide a good living for both men and their respective young families. By the middle of the first decade of the 1900s, it appears that Forsythe worked in the stone-cutting business of his own. He may have started a business by the name of the Frederick Marble and Granite Works, but I couldn’t find a mention of this moniker in the newspaper until 1911. A new location was necessary because the Sifford Works location on E. 2nd and East streets would soon become the home of the Frederick City Electric Light Works. However, James may simply have worked as a contractor in the marble and granite trade during these years.
Land records show the Taylors purchasing property near the National Pike in 1907 in the vicinity of what was called Pearl, east of Bartonsville at today's address of 5814 Bartonsville Road. Pearl is where the Jug Bridge Seafood (known to longtime Frederick Countians) operated, today known as Avery’s Maryland Grille. By this time, Howard and Flora Ann had five children: Lillian (b. 1897), Emma (b. 1900), Helen (b. 1901), Flora (b. 1903), Ruth (b. 1905). I don’t know what caused the move to Virginia other than a lucrative (or necessary) job opportunity. The Pearl property would initially serve as an investment property by the Taylors who ended up mortgaging to the Forsythes in their absence. Maybe this property was possibly bought to serve home to a marble and granite related business location under Forsythe’s management while the Taylors were in Culpeper.
While in Virginia, it can be presumed that Howard worked in the stone cutting and memorial trade as well. I searched long and hard to find Howard and his family in the 1910 census with no luck. I discovered, however, that Howard’s kid brother Raymond Austin Taylor (1886-1934) had moved into his old home on E. 6th St and was working for James P. Forsythe as a stone cutter.
In 1910, I found an advertisement announcing that Howard and Flora’s property at Pearl had been sold in 1910 due to a mortgage foreclosure by Forsythe. As can be seen from the 1911 article below, Howard must have returned to Frederick around this time period as he moved (or opened) the Frederick Marble and Granite Works to a location on N. Market and E. 4th streets in Frederick City. Today, this location constitutes the parking lot of the Joy Convenience store.
I theorize that the Taylor family’s move back to Frederick was precipitated by the death of Howard’s sister, Fannie Forsythe in 1909. She is buried in Mount Olivet’s Area M/Lot16. I have to imagine that her marble gravestone was delicately formed by James.
James Forsythe and his children moved to the Midwest, first to St. Paul, Minnesota where he worked as a print shop superintendent, then to Muskegon, Michigan where he and his 35-year old daughter Fannie worked as gravestone setters, and eventually to Laketown, Polk County, Wisconsin. He died in nearby Luck, Wisconsin on April 4th, 1944 at the age of 72 and is buried in Haustrup Cemetery in Atlas. I was curious to see his final resting place and was quite underwhelmed by him having only a simple footstone-style memorial.
Howard now was the proprietor of Frederick Marble and Granite, and he too took his lumps of the profession as illustrated by a few articles in the local paper.
After five girls, a boy, Howard G. Taylor, Jr. would be born later to the couple in 1913. The Taylor family could be found living in the 800 block of N. Market St. Howard would move his business to a convenient location next door to his home. This would eventually be 818 and 820 N. Market Street.
One of Mike Schaden’s prized Taylor heirlooms is a photograph taken around 1916 in the yard of the Frederick Marble & Granite Works. The whole family gathered for a formal picture, I guess you could say a precious moment “captured in stones” (plural)! This area served as the business’ showroom, and I’m sure was a jungle gym of sorts for the Taylor children.
This photo is amazing in so many ways. It sparked Mike to search for the prominent gravestone in the foreground, unique for the twin torches carved on each side of its face. Well, he found this in Mount Olivet's Area C/Lot 86. This stone belongs to John W. Houck and his wife Annie.
One will note that John died in 1873, and I questioned this point until I saw that Annie would live until 1924. I went in search of John's obituary and I found the ironic twist that he, himself was a stone cutter by trade. He was only 31 and left a widow and six children which speaks volumes why a memorial wasn't placed until later. With the family photograph as a key, we can safely say that this stone was placed in Mount Olivet around 1916. Thanks to Findagrave.com, I found this photo of the decedent.
The Taylor home and marble and granite works was the outskirts of Frederick City limits at the time as N. Market Street slowly turned into the Woodsboro Pike, passing Rose Hill Manor and other farms on its way north. I still marvel of how these large chunks of granite were transported to the workshop, and then to the cemetery. I'm sure it was simply horse and wagon doing the heavy lifting in those early days.
From what I found, Howard seemed to be an automobile enthusiast himself and spent spare time motoring with his family on the rural roads of the county, and made trips to see family in Baltimore as well. Articles in the local newspaper prove this point. Also found in the Frederick "newspapers of old" are simplistic advertisements for Howard’s business over the next few decades.
In 1912, the obituary of Howard’s father, Thomas, appeared in the Frederick News. I was surprised to learn that Howard’s parents had moved to Frederick just a few years prior. Was this also a factor of Fannie Forsythe’s death? Was it also a cause for James Forsythe to escape his in-laws? We may never know. I’m sure the death of his father was a blow to Howard, and I also would think that Howard made his father’s gravestone. I found a picture of this on Findagrave.com as Thomas F. Taylor is buried in Baltimore’s St. Mary’s Episcopal Cemetery.
Howard’s mother is buried here too, as she would die 26 years later. Maybe this was Howard’s marble stone style, or maybe it was done to match a preference by the family to match other stones in the Baltimore cemetery or those of relatives. In talking with Mike, we discussed how these stones differed greatly from the typical style of Taylor’s hand in granite found in Mount Olivet. Here we have specimens that possess the distinctive roughness of both pedestal and main stone as mentioned earlier—chief characteristics also noted in the 1916 photograph.
We deduct that those stones we attribute to Taylor include a raised, tubular style lettering and numbering exemplified in Taylor’s own family grave monument and footstones. Mike believes that perhaps special forms or template pieces were used to help give these neat and orderly smooth, rounded edges—the opposite of typical gravestone inscription.
I provide here a number of Taylor’s stones as found in Mount Olivet. Note in some cases, the stone cutter added floral designs among others.
The Taylor family stone was erected in Mount Olivet in Area T in 1918. Sadly, Howard and Flora would bury their 12 year-old daughter Ruth Emma here on May 1st of that year. Taylor and other gravestone makers would visit this cemetery section quite a bit over the next year as it contains the final resting place of nearly fifty victims of the Spanish Flu that raged as a pandemic the following fall.
I found Howard’s draft registration from that period and another ad saying that he had entered into the hauling business as well. It was likely a means to help pay for the truck he needed for his tombstone business. I continued to find Howard G. Taylor doing his thing in the 1920 census at the home and business location at 818 and 820 N. Market Street.
Howard's daughters would eventually marry, and his namesake son, Howard, G. Jr. (1913-1977) would choose a career in dentistry in lieu of the family business. In a way, a steady hand is needed in that profession as well. He would relocate to Montgomery county and retire to Key Largo, Florida. He is buried in Damascus, Maryland. He can be found living with his parents in the census records of 1930 and 1940 which also list his father’s profession.
In looking through newspapers, I found that daughters Flora (Taylor) McMaster (1903-1981) and Lillian (Taylor) Anderson (1897-1987) would relocate to Baltimore, site also of their final resting places. Helen Taylor would marry Leslie Gaver (1901-1976) and then again to a gentleman named Harry C. Pfau of Baltimore. She is buried next to her parents and sister Ruth in the family lot on Area T.
The last remaining child to speak of in that wonderful family photograph was Mike Schaden’s grandmother, Emma Taylor, who we discussed earlier as marrying into the Etchison family. I uncovered a great article from August, 1931 in which Emma and her father caught a record number of crabs at Severna Park’s Magothy Beach.
Emma (Taylor) Etchison died in 1966 and is buried with husband Carol in Mount Olivet’s Area F. The lot has a commanding view east from atop “Cemetery Hill.”
Mike told me that the Frederick Marble and Granite Works business lasted up until 1940, an almost 30 year-run. The business moved locations in 1937 from N. Market St. to a location east of town and the former marble works would become an auto supply store a few years later.
Flora would pass in November, 1944 and was buried in Mount Olivet’s Area T/Lot 42. At this time, Howard decided to give up housekeeping and sold his home and many accoutrements. He would take up his final residence at 122 Pine avenue in a duplex, not all too far from his longtime home in the north part of the city.
Howard would marry again, a widow named Erma Ruth (Orme) Schaeffer (1893-2007). He stayed active as a proud grandparent, and also kept involved in Frederick civic life until his death on February 7th, 1961. He would be buried in Mount Olivet two days later in the shadow of his large family gravestone, made by his own two hands.
Over sixty years after his death, Howard would be delighted to see his grandson (and wife Sheila) as part of the Friends of Mount Olivet membership group. Throughout spring, summer and fall, you can find them not only cleaning the gravestones that Howard G. Taylor sculpted, but also those of his competitors, and stone-cutters that honed their skill before and after the gentleman who would conduct business at 818 N. Market Street in the early 20th century.
It’s a cold day in Frederick, Maryland, but that is to be expected as it is late January. Our “Story in Stone” offering this week begins in an even colder destination—Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Founded in 1825, Ann Arbor is named after the wives of the village’s founders, both named Ann, and the stands of burr oak trees. It is best known as the home of the University of Michigan. Although this school boasts the largest (Amercan) football stadium in the world with a capacity of 107, 601, our aim has nothing to do with the sacred pigskin or Wolverine players past or present. Our interest does have a direct connection to the university, but more specifically to the William L. Clements Library. Located on the school’s central campus, this rare book and manuscript repository specializes in Americana and particularly North American history prior to the twentieth century.
I read that Pulitzer Prize-winning author/historian David McCullough spent many hours here researching the library’s extensive collection of Revolutionary War materials for the writing of his book 1776. The Book collection here consists of 80,000 rare books, pamphlets, broadsides and periodicals. Within the other divisions, the library holds 600 atlases, approximately 30,000 maps, 99,400 prints and photographs, 134 culinary periodicals, 20,000 pieces of ephemera, 150 pieces of artwork, 15,000 pieces of sheet music, and 2,600 manuscript collections. One of the latter pertains to one of our own buried here in Frederick’s historic Mount Olivet. His name was Robert W. McCleery.
One just needs to seek out Box #35 within the James S. Schoff Civil War Collection and they will be able to study one year in the career of this Frederick native and celebrated naval veteran who died at the age of 31. He traveled from his west-central Maryland home to foreign ports of call, and spent his final years at the top of his rank as a Chief Engineer.
I had a rough idea of what this naval position likely entailed, but decided to consult the internet to learn more. A chief engineer is the most senior engine officer of an engine department on a ship, typically a merchant ship, and holds overall leadership and the responsibility of that department. As a person who holds one of the most senior roles on the ship, they must have excellent communication and leadership skills. They will be expected to regularly work alongside other crew members and external consultants, and most importantly, provide guidance to their team. To be a chief engineer, an engineer must attain a chief engineer's license appropriate to the tonnage, power rating, and type of ship that they are employed on. A chief engineer is ultimately responsible for all operations and maintenance that has to do with any and all engineering equipment throughout the entire ship, and supervises all other engineering officer and engine ratings within the department.
Robert W. McCleery
Robert W. McCleery was born in Frederick City on June 29th, 1832. He was the son of Robert McCleery (1788-1840) and Rebecca Beall McCleery (1795-1871). He was the fifth of eight children, lived at North Market Street and had been born into an accomplished family who had already made their mark on Frederick. Robert’s grandfather, Henry McCleery (1749-1819), an Irish immigrant, master carpenter and architect, gave Frederick its second county courthouse in 1785.
Years later, with help from Robert’s father and uncle, Andrew McCleery, Henry also designed the second iteration of All Saints Episcopal Church on Court Street (1813), and the Ross and Mathias mansions on Council Street. Also located on Council Street was the Frederick Academy, site of Robert W.’s early schooling. The first principal of this storied institution was Rev. Samuel Knox, who married Robert’s aunt, Zeruiah (McCleery) Knox (1783-1839).
Robert McCleery (father of Robert W.) was a veteran of the War of 1812 as well, and served as a Sergeant Major in Maryland's 3rd Regiment under Gen. George W. Ent from August 24th until September 30th, 1814, seeing action in Baltimore. Mr. McCleery also received appointments by the Frederick municipality to serve as a tax commissioner. The greatest testament to Robert’s lineage comes by way of an entry penned in the diary of Jacob Engelbrecht on July 21st 1840 recording the death of our subject’s father:
“Died this morning in the 53rd year of his age Mr. Robert McCreery of our town. I would only remark that we had no better citizen in our town, take him all in all than Mr. Robert McCleery. Buried on the English Presbyterian graveyard.”
His body would be relocated to Mount Olivet years later and placed in Area H.
A decade after his father's death, I found Robert W. in the 1850 census living with Aubrey Gist Jones and wife Mary Ann (Boyd) in Baltimore. Mr. Jones is simply listed as a “Gentleman” so I’m not quite sure if Robert was working for Mr. Jones or simply lodging at his dwelling. Robert, along with three other tenants were listed as clerks. One more note, Mrs. Jones is buried in Mount Olivet, but I haven’t determined a family relationship or not to our subject.
On August 2nd, 1855, Robert would enlist in the US Navy and took the position of Third Assistant Engineer. I first found Robert’s name “in the newspapers” in September 1857.
It should come as no surprise that Robert’s naval career captured the imagination of Jacob Engelbrecht. I was especially interested to see a series of entries in Jacob’s diary pertaining to the engineer’s whereabouts in 1858.
“Robert W. McCleery 2nd Assistant Engineer in the US Navy has been in town for several weeks on a visit and will leave this morning at 8:40am for Norfolk to go on board the US Steam Ship Water-Witch Commanding (illegible) bound to Paraguay (Assumption)with the (illegible)”
Thursday, September 30, 1858 8 o’clock AM
“Where is Robert W. McCleery now—we are now talking about him in the Shop—Perry thinks he is in Montevideo, now—he was on board the Steamer “Water-Witch.”
December 10, 1858
“Where is Robert W. McCleery today? He is assistant engineer aboard Unites States Steamer “Water-Witch” in Paraguay Expedition.
March 4, 1859
“He was at Montevideo when last heard from. A letter from him dated Montevideo March 8, 1859 & subsequently states that he was transferred from the “Water-Witch” to the Metacomet” Steamer on the 15th of March & will therefore remain on the South American station for the present.
March 9, 1859
“Robert W. McCleery—his brother Perry read a letter from him in our shop yesterday (to his sister Miss Harriet McCleery) dated “United States Steamer Water-Witch,” Montevideo December 29 1858” wherein he stated that very soon they would sail for “Asuncion” Paraguay to see old Don Lopez &c. (P. B. McCleery received a letter from Robert today dated “Metacomet” Montevideo May 11, 1859.
Friday, March 18, 1859
An article from a Lancaster, PA newspaper from May, 1859 sheds a little more light on McCleery’s southern excursion.
A history of the USS Water Witch says the following:
The ship recommissioned briefly during the summer of 1858, but her next real active service came after yet another recommissioning on 17 September of that same year. She headed for the coast of South America as part of the Paraguay expedition under Flag Officer William B. Shubrick to exact an apology and an indemnity from Paraguay over the incident which had occurred in 1855. In January 1859, Water Witch and Fulton arrived in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay; and, backed by the warships, an American commissioner, James B. Bowlin, began negotiations with the Paraguayans. As a result of that expedition, Paraguay extended a satisfactory apology to the United States, indemnified the family of the slain Water Witch crewman, and granted the United States a new and highly advantageous commercial treaty.
After the resolution of the difficulties with Paraguay, Water Witch resumed her survey missions in that region of the world. That employment, punctuated by periods out of commission in the United States, lasted until the fall preceding the outbreak of the Civil War. She was again decommissioned, this time at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, for repairs on 1 November 1860.
Robert was miraculously enumerated in the 1860 US census as living in Frederick under the roof of his mother Rebecca. This was surely not true, as he was away on his naval deployment out of the country. His mother made sure he was accounted for, however.
We know this to be the case thanks to our old friend, Jacob Engelbrecht:
“Robert W. McCleery (of our city) engineer in the United States service arrived in our city last evening (June 2, 1863) having been absent from here & actual or active service nearly 5 years. He now has a furlough for one month. During the absence, he was in South America as far as Assumption in Paraguay and since the war of rebellion has been in the attack on Hilton Head & c. N.B. He was telegraphed at 10 o’clock June 3rd to return to his duty.”
Wednesday, June 3rd, 1863 9 o’clock AM.
With the "Water Witch" decommissioned, Robert W. McCleerly would be assigned to the USS Wabash. I learned that this ship (and McCreery) were involved in the southern naval blockade, and was at one point positioned off Charleston, South Carolina. I found a history on the USS Wabash that explained the vessel’s role in the American Civil War up through McCleery’s visit to Frederick.
With the outbreak of the American Civil War, Wabash was recommissioned on May 16, 1861, Captain Samuel Mercer in command, and departed New York on May 30, 1861 as flagship of the Atlantic Blockading Squadron under Rear Admiral Silas H. Stringham. Wabash captured the brigantine Sarah Starr off Charleston, South Carolina, on August 3, 1861, and recaptured the American schooner Mary Alice, taken earlier by CSS Dixie. By this date, she had also captured the brigantines Hannah, Balch, and Solferino, along with 22 Confederate prisoners from the four vessels.
On August 26, 1861, Wabash departed Hampton Roads, bound for Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, to take part in the first combined amphibious assault of the war. Wabash accompanied Monticello, Pawnee, revenue cutter Harriet Lane, the tug Fanny, and two transports, carrying over 900 troops under Major General Benjamin Butler. Union forces secured Hatteras Inlet with the capture of Forts Hatteras and Clark on August 29, 1861. The attacking force suffered no casualties and took over 700 prisoners. Among these was Captain Samuel Barron of the Confederate Navy, the former commander in the United States Navy of Wabash when she served under Rear Admiral La Vallette.
Wabash was later designated the flagship of Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont, the new commander of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, and was sent to the New York Navy Yard for repairs on September 21, 1861.
After refit, Wabash departed Fort Monroe on 29 October 1861 to spearhead the Federal assault on Port Royal, South Carolina. The assembled invasion fleet was the largest yet organized by the Navy, containing 77 vessels and 16,000 Army troops under Brigadier General Thomas W. Sherman. The combined force secured Port Royal Sound on 7 November 1861 after a furious four-hour battle. Wabash led the battle line in this major strategic Union victory.
Wabash now took up permanent station on the Charleston blockade, operating out of Port Royal. On March 11, 1862, a landing party led by ship's commanding officer, Commander C. R. P. Rodgers, occupied St. Augustine, Florida. A detachment of seamen and officers from Wabash landed and manned a battery which bombarded Fort Pulaski, Georgia, on April 10 and April 11, 1862 and was instrumental in forcing that Southern fort to surrender. A naval battery of three 12 pounder howitzers from Wabash supported Union troops at the Battle of Pocotaligo, on October 22, 1862.
Confederate vessels twice harassed Wabash while on duty in Port Royal Sound. On August 5, 1863, CSS Juno, a small steamer on picket duty below Fort Sumter, fired upon and ran down a launch from Wabash, capturing 10 sailors and drowning two. The CSS David submarine torpedo boat also attacked Wabash on April 18, 1864. Ensign Charles H. Craven, officer of the deck, spotted the cigar-shaped vessel in time for Wabash to get underway. The David disengaged from the attack in the face of musket fire and round shot discharged from Wabash.
The Wabash had sailed back to its Philadelphia port and this is where the engineer had traveled to Frederick and back. I’m sure his furlough and visit home in early June (1863) was highly anticipated by both him, and his family. Sadly, this would be cut short after just one night! No one knew at the time, but this abrupt recall would be especially tragic to family , friends and admirers like Engelbrecht because this would be the last time Robert W. McCleery would walk the streets of his hometown. Just over three months later, newspapers in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Frederick would announce Robert’s untimely death
And what did Jacob Engelbrecht have to say about his young friend’s death?
“Died in Philadelphia on Tuesday, September 15 1863 at _ o’ clock PM Mr. Robert McCleery youngest son of the late Mr. Robert McCleery of our city. He was at the time of his death chief engineer in the United States Navy in the United States Steam Ship “Wabash” (Commander Dupont) & was at the capture of Fort “Pulaski” near Savannah Georgia. On the Wabash he had been on the sea, in actual service, eight years without intermission. Several years since he was in South America up the River Plate as far as Assumption Paraguay & returned to the United States after the Rebellion commenced. His remains were brought to Frederick (after being Embalmed in Philadelphia) and buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery this forenoon. There was an escort of United States soldiers & officers at the time of funeral. The weather was very unpleasant raining very hard & Market Street nearly covered with water. His age was 31 years 2 months & 17 days.”
Friday September 18, 1863 4 o’clock PM
Sadly, I couldn’t find the exact cause of death for Robert W. McCleery. He was buried on September 17th, 1863 in Area H/Lot 355. Interestingly, this is only yards today from Jacob Engelbrecht’s final resting place
You may be familiar with Perry Beall McCleery’s home on E. Patrick Street—formerly used as a B&B under the fitting name of "McCleery’s Flat" some years back.
Perry Beall McCleery was born in 1822. Like his father and grandfather, he was trained as a carpenter. He worked at that occupation until 1850, when he was elected a director and discount clerk of the Frederick County National Bank. McCleery was promoted to bookkeeper in 1852 and then to cashier in 1867. He served as cashier until 1887.
McCleery maintained involvement in his local community, serving as a member of Adam Lodge No. 35, 1.0.0.F; the Junior Fire Company; and the Board of Managers at Mount Olivet Cemetery. He also participated in two Frederick building associations. McCleery married Mary Jane E. Doub in 1853, and they had two daughters, who both died as infants, and six sons.
Perry McCleery died nearly 24 years after brother Robert on August 11th, 1887. He would be buried a few yards in front of his veteran sibling in Area H.
Two final "McCleery" notes of interest before we end this story. Two of Perry's sons later to be buried in the McCleery grave plot would distinguish themselves over their lives. Son Robert, named for his seafaring uncle, would receive a job from James C. Clarke, railroad mogul and namesake of Clarke Place here in town. Robert would relocate to Chicago and work as a clerk for the Illinois Central Railroad.
People like Francis Scott Key and Barbara Fritchie have monuments that seemingly fit their legacy in size and stature. Everyone is familiar with the author of our national anthem’s monument at the entrance of our 120 acre-burying ground. It was unveiled to great fanfare back in August, 1898 after nearly three decades of fundraising.
As for Dame Fritchie’s grave, it is a little more modest than FSK’s, but fitting compared to the original design and scope proposed back in 1912. A postcard was published showing a rendition of what the Barbara Fritchie Monument Foundation was actually hoping to do. This behemoth was to be located at the intersection of N. Market and 7th streets but would never come to fruition thanks to pushback regarding the true validity of our most famous Frederick tale.
Months ago, I wrote of Frederick’s First Citizen, Joseph D. Baker (1854-1938), businessman and philanthropist extraordinaire—namesake of our glorious municipal park. He has a large monument mirroring his achievements. In the same ilk, a sizeable memorial arose for Col. Charles Edward Trail (1825-1909), a politician and businessman whose final resting place is as grandiose as his former E. Church Street abode (used today for Keeney & Basford Funeral Home). Another “giant from our past,” and “memorial giant of our cemetery” comes with James C. Clarke (1824-1902), a former railroad executive. His grand obelisk is positioned to the left of our Key Memorial Chapel’s front entrance on its own island so to speak. Of course we have two thoroughfares named for these men in the forms of Trail Avenue and Clarke Place.
On the flipside, I’ve written past stories about amazing people with very unassuming, or plain and underwhelming, gravestones. These include people that truly did amazing things and led highly interesting lives such as fashion designer Claire McCardell, actor Robert Downing, Gen. Allan C. McBride, Maryland Court of Appeals judge and history author Edward S. Delaplaine II and Simon Blunt—son-in-law of Francis Scott Key.
Well, I decided to tackle one of the most visible and memorable monuments in the cemetery in my opinion. I cannot un-see this angel-topped marker every time I drive the cemetery lane that parallels our eastern perimeter of the cemetery along Stadium Drive. About midway down, in Area OO, is the grave of Harold McClellan Phebus. I think that after reading this short piece, you may agree with me that this humble, yet exquisite memorial “shines,” even though its owner didn’t have opportunity to accomplish anything.
There’s not much of a story to tell about this particular decedent with a distinctively Frederick name. Harold’s life was cut far too short as he only spent time on this earth for one year, six months and 23 days.
Born February 1st, 1904, Harold McClellan Phebus was the son of Elmer McClellan Phebus (1862-1929) and wife Margaret “Maggie” Viola Kline. Our subject’s middle name was the same as that of his father, originally so-named after the United States general of the Union’s Army of the Potomac—George B. McClellan. Mr. Phebus earned the name honestly as his father had also been named after a patriotic, historical figure—Benjamin Franklin Phebus. In the 1870 census, Elmer is referred to by his middle name.
As for the last name, it goes back to ancient mythology and has a few spellings. The name Phebus, or Phoebus, is a boy's name of Greek origin meaning "shining, brilliant.” It was apparently one of the names of the sun god Apollo, however it is more commonly known in its feminine form— Phoebe.
Looking at the name going back in Frederick history, I found that our first in town derive from immigrant Johannes Jacobus Fibus (1767–1823) hailing from Manheim, Erftkreis, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.
From what I could tell, Jacob Fibus came to this country in the 1790s and became a naturalized US citizen on March 26th, 1804.
He and wife, Annan were of the Evangelical Lutheran faith and raised at least three children including son Peter Fibus (1793-1839), great grandfather of Harold McClellan Phebus and father of Benjamin Franklin Phebus. Along the way, the spelling would change from “F” to “Ph”and in some instances the name would pick up an “o” as in Phoebus. I still see this spelling with Frederick County residents today.
It's easy to surmise that the family, or a family member lived in the vicinity of current day Phebus Avenue located west of S. Bentz Street between W. Patrick and W. South streets. The entrance is across from Mullinix Park, just north of W. All Saints Street. I found Benjamin Franklin's son George T. Phebus living on W. South, and son Benjamin Ellsworth Phebus living on W. Patrick St in the early 1900s. This latter brother of Elmer McClellan Phebus even owned property along Phebus Avenue so he may be the cause for the name. However, Elmer, himself, may also be the namesake, but more on that in a moment.
The name Phebus Avenue came about around 1914 or so. Before this, the thoroughfare here was known as Cat Alley and was in the midst of a slum-ridden area. It seems to have originally been an extension of DeGrange Street (which was earlier known as Derr's Alley). I read that the municipality had built a boardwalk over the muddy lane before eventually macadamizing around the time of the name change to Phebus Avenue.
Elmer McClellan Phebus was a third-generation bricklayer and mason and performed work in the private, commercial and government sector here in Frederick. He would marry Maggie Kline in 1896. The Phebus family resided at 418 N. Market Street at the time of young Harold’s death. Other siblings included: Roger Elmer Phebus (1898-1979) and Walter Henry Phebus, Sr. (1901-1958).
As for Harold’s death, he would pass on August 24th, 1905 and his obituary appeared in the August 25th edition of the Frederick News. He would be buried that same day of the 25th. Our cemetery interment card gives his cause of death as meningitis, an inflammation of brain and spinal cord membranes, typically caused by a viral infection, but can also be bacterial or fungal.
As said earlier, the monument appears to stand taller than it really is. Other family members would receive low profile stones in the future with the only exception being a lone upright stone with the family name. Harold’s mother would die twenty years later in November, 1925.
Interestingly, Margaret’s grandson, Walter McClellan Phebus, Jr. had died four months previously of enteritis and was laid to rest in the Phebus family lot. He was the son of Walter and Helen Phebus and was only eight months and 21 days at the time. A third child, albeit an infant would be buried here in this plot in August, 1933, another child of Walter Phebus. This was Margaret Irene Phebus, only 15 days old and named for his departed mother.
In 1929, Harold’s father’s death made front page news. Elmer had become a public servant, and held the position of city alderman of Frederick for multiple terms. He appears to have been quite respected as both a politician and businessman. Elmer died on January 7th, 1929 and would be buried two days later.
I quickly became intrigued with Elmer's, or should I say McClellan's, political career as he was less than angelic, as he was quite outspoken. One could say he was brash and cocky. The Democrat ran unsuccessfully for city mayor in 1914. He would win re-election again in 1917 and 1922.
Alderman Phebus was on the Street Committee of the Board of Alderman. This also got me thinking that this could have led to the alderman getting a city street named after him. I'm not positive, but the name switched from Cat Alley to Phebus Avenue while Elmer was in office.
Lastly, I found Elmer to be a leading member of the Independent Hose Fire Company in town. At the time of Mr. Phebus' death, his fellow firemen put the following eulogy in the local paper:
It’s interesting to think that Elmer’s well-attended funeral had friends, family, business and professional colleagues, fellow civil servants, brother firemen and former clients in attendance. This large assembly huddled around Harold’s angelic monument on that day. I checked the weather and found it to be a chilly January day with light rain that eventually changed to snow flurries. No matter the case, the lasting memorial to a 1.5 year-old toddler shone brightly that afternoon for sure, just as it had done when originally placed in 1905 for Harold's funeral, and just like it continues to do today, 117 years after his death.
March 31st, 2017, I remember the day quite well. It was a Friday afternoon and I was busily working on an article entitled Frederick’s Caller of “Balls and Strikes” about Richard “Dick” Nallin, one of the American League’s earliest umpires, and namesake of Fort Detrick’s entrance off Opposumtown Pike.
I decided to write this particular story at that time because we were on the verge of baseball season beginning at all levels, but closest to home, right next door to the cemetery, we have Nymeo Park at Harry Grove Stadium—home of the Frederick Keys. Of course this team is so named for who else but Francis Scott Key, the most recognized name in our cemetery. Speaking of which, our former intern from Hood College, Katelyn Klukosky, alerted me to a recent post on the Instagram site entitled Frederick County Affirmations (@fredco_affirmations). On January 8th, this dandy can be found.
You gotta love it! However, having worked for the Frederick Tourism Council for nearly a decade, I can definitely second this affirmation, but can also say with confidence that those “bones” have been a huge tourist draw since 1898. One “star-spangled” case in point occurred on the afternoon of the fore-mentioned March 31st, 2017.
A visiting family arrived at our Mount Olivet administration office back in the mausoleum complex to the rear of the cemetery. These folks were solely here for tourism and genealogy purposes and not to make burial plans. They were promptly directed my way by our office manager. I would meet Francis and Susan Ellert of Culver, Indiana, and their four teenage children. Soon I would be told that Francis had received his name thanks in-part to our front gate greeter and author of our national anthem. He said he was so-named by his parents because he apparently was a descendant of Francis Scott Key, but was not sure of the exact genealogy.
I immediately took it upon myself to intervene after giving a history lesson of how FSK (Francis Scott Key) came to be “reburied” here in Mount Olivet from Baltimore, and the drive to create a fitting monument which took over three decades and money from people all over the country. Mr. Ellert shared that he hadn’t stepped foot on our premises since 1986, the time of his paternal grandmother’s funeral. He was only a kid back then and had come all the way from the Cleveland, Ohio area and didn’t remember much from the experience outside of the graveside service and being shown his namesake’s monument and final resting place.
Now, 31 years later, the Ellerts decided to make a brief stop in Frederick on the way back home after enjoying a family “spring break” trip to Washington, DC. Their goal was two-fold: to find his grandmother’s grave, and then show his wife and children the gravesite of his famous namesake.
I jumped into action and pulled up our burial database searching for a Louise Ellert (1884-1986). I found that “Louie,” as she was affectionately known, is buried in Area BB/Lot 35 along with husband Laurence B. Ellert (1878-1940). A daughter of the couple, Jeanne Ellert Blunda (1908-1968), is also here.
Louise Ellert was living in Cleland Heights, Ohio at the time of her death. She was brought here to Frederick’s Mount Olivet to be buried next to her husband who had died 28 years earlier. At that time, the Ellerts were living in New York City, where Laurence was enjoying an interesting career as a music magazine publisher. He served as production manager and vice president of the Boston Music Company and the Willis Music Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.
As for “Louie,” she lived a good, long life and was our connection, or dare I say “key,” to the supposed Maryland history connection at hand for grandson Francis Ellert. In researching for this particular story nearly four years later, I found this small blurb in the Frederick paper from September, 1984.
In our cemetery files, I found Louie Ellert was the former Louise Key, daughter of William Thompson Key and Josephine Louise Baltzell. I now had two interesting, former Frederick families to draw from in the form of the Keys and Baltzells. However, I would find that Louie’s father (Mr. Key) had not only old Maryland roots, but was a native of the deep south and the state of Louisiana. Before I attempted to sort out the Key connection back to Francis Scott Key, I explained to the Ellert family the importance locally of the Baltzell family as this was the first time they had heard the name. Not only was this the reason for burial here in Mount Olivet, but we also possess a tangible connection to the Baltzells specifically designed for Frederick visitors.
You may ask, “Who were the Baltzells?” Well, to answer this question, you only have to go as far as Heritage Frederick, formerly known as the Historical Society of Frederick County. I mean this both literally and figuratively. At this historic archival repository, one will learn that John Baltzell, grandfather of Josephine Louise (Baltzell) Key, was born February 11th, 1775 here in Frederick.
John was the son of Dr. John Jacob (1752-1838) and Anna Mary (Gibbs) Baltzell (1753-1829) and the grandson of John Jacob and Eva Catherine (Wintz) Baltzell, immigrants originally from the Alsace-Lorraine region between Germany and France. Dr. John Jacob had immigrated here with his parents in 1763. He and his wife were originally buried in Frederick’s German Reformed Graveyard, but were removed to Mount Olivet at the time of our opening in May, 1854. They are located in Area E/Lot 30.
Their son, Dr. John Baltzell, would soon join his parents here at Mount Olivet. His obituary appeared in the Frederick Examiner under the title, "Death of a Venerable Physican" on September 6th, 1854.
“Dr. John Baltzell, one of our most aged and respectable citizens, departed this life, shortly after midnight on Wednesday night, the 6th inst. of paralysis. The deceased had been rapidly recovering from the effects of a protracted illness, and felt so well on Tuesday morning, that he anticipated the pleasure of a walk down street in the cool of the evening. Dr. Baltzell was a native of this city; having received in early youth a liberal education, he studied medicine under Dr. Philip Thomas, one of the most celebrated physicians of his day, and entered on the practice of his profession about the opening of the current century. Possessing superior mental endowments and ardently devoted to his noble science, he was a very successful practitioner, and gratefully esteemed for his humanity and attention to the sick. Apart from his profession, his general course of studies took a wide range, and favored with a retentive memory, he was remarkable though life for his social qualities and conversational ability. Indulging in fondness for religious and political polemics, he became at one time a frequent contributor to the press, and was regarded as an influential writer; especially as a political writer, at the era of the second War of independence when party spirit ran highest. He withdrew from active practice a few years since with a handsome fortune, and having passed through a long life-time, without the breath of suspicion upon his honorable fame, died at the advanced age of 70 years, 6 months and 25 days.
He married Ruth Ridgley, daughter of Judge Charles Ridgley, on Dec. 24, 1821 in Frederick, Maryland. They were the parents of Ellen Margaret, Eliza Ann, Cornelia, Philip Thomas, Frederick, John Ridgley, Albert, Dr. William Henry, Wesley, Fanny, and Alice Baltzell.”
Dr. Baltzell’s home is a familiar one to Frederick residents and history fans alike as it has served home to the Historical Society of Frederick County (aka Heritage Frederick) since 1959.
Dr. Baltzell built the home (c. 1820-1824) for his wife and their growing family. He practiced medicine from the basement level office accessible via an old side entrance off Maxwell Alley. The property lot extended further back and to the west with a large side yard. After the physician’s death, the property was offered up for sale and Mrs. Baltzell eventually moved to Calvert County to live with a daughter’s family in Leonardtown.
Col. Alexander Baird Hanson purchased the property from Dr. Baltzell’s estate in 1854, and owned it until 1871. He added the east annex to house his son in-law’s law practice, covering over the Maxwell Alley basement access. John Loats, a prominent farmer and businessman, resided here late in his life through his death 1879. He was a wealthy widower who had lost his only son in infancy. He directed in his will that this house be incorporated as the Loats Female Orphan Asylum of Frederick City. This became a reality in 1882 and operated as such until 1956.
Born July 30th, 1836, Dr. William Henry Baltzell followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather as a physician. The father of Josephine Louise (Baltzell) Key was a graduate of Princeton, and studied to become a physician at the University of Pennsylvania. He married Josephine Victoria Nelson (b. 1832), daughter of Judge Madison Nelson (1803-1870) and wife Josephine Morrell Marcilly (1806-1882) in February of 1855. The Nelson family of Frederick also have a “storied past” which I will save for another time. Upon completing his studies, Dr. William Baltzell went to Union, Illinois shortly after his marriage in 1855 to start his medical career. This could have been at the urging of his future brother-in-law Frederick J. Nelson, a Frederick native and lawyer living in the Chicago vicinity.
Josephine was the oldest of four known children, born on June 24th, 1859 in Chicago, Illinois. The family returned to Frederick during the Civil War period and by 1880 were living in a spacious home on East Second Street, across from the Visitation Academy. They lived next door and east of the earlier mentioned Frederick J. Nelson and his mother, Josephine (Marcilly) Nelson, maternal grandmother of Josephine (Baltzell) Key.
Josephine (Nelson) Baltzell inherited what is today 209 E. 2nd St from her aunt Zulma Marcilly in 1884. Dr. William and Josephine Baltzell, along with Zulma and Rose Marcilly, were all living in that house. Josephine Baltzell sold the 209 E. 2nd St property to her son-in-law Robert LaDow in 1912, but he immediately sold it to Frederick Ordeman, who owned it until 1920.
A great deal of information can be found on this family in Dr. William H. Baltzell’s obituary in 1899.
As noted in the obituary, one of Dr. William Baltzell’s sisters, Frances “Fanny” Baltzell (1839-1874), married a relative of Francis Scott Key named Joseph Harris Key (1839-1917). Joseph’s father was a second cousin to FSK, as they both shared a great-grandfather in the progenitor of the family, Philip Key (1696-1764).
Josephine Baltzell would marry a Key as well—a gentleman named William Thompson Key. This union occurred on November 16th, 1880. The couple would go on to have five children: William Barton Key (b. 1881); the fore-mentioned Louie Victoire Key (Ellert) (1835-1986); Philip Barton Key, Sr. (1887-1956); Louis Key (1888-1889) and Nicholas Sewall Key (1892-1948).
With a little genealogical study, I was able to share with Francis Ellert and his family that he was not a direct descendent of Francis Scott Key as previously believed, but was indeed a definitive relative through William Thompson Key, who possessed a closer genetic connection to Francis Scott Key than Joseph Harris Key, albeit it another generation removed. The above-mentioned family immigrant, Philip Key, was William’s great-great-grandfather. William’s great-grandfather was Francis Key (1731-1770), whose name would be given to patriotic grandson, Francis Scott Key. In between these two “Franks” were FSK’s father and uncle, brothers John Ross Key (1754-1821) and Philip Barton Key (1757-1815).
Now, hold on just a minute and don’t be thinking you know something interesting about this Philip Barton Key. The name is more famous as it was applied to FSK’s son, who died in 1859, a victim of the 1800s “crime of the century.” That would be Philip Barton Key II (b. 1818).
Philip Barton Key II was an American lawyer who served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He is most famous for his public affair with Teresa Bagioli Sickles, and his eventual murder at the hands of her husband, Congressman Daniel Sickles of New York. Now there’s an incredible story and the subject of a novel entitled Star-Spangled Scandal published a few years back by former Frederick resident, Lori Swerda. As an aside, Lori presented a colorful lecture for our Friends of Mount Olivet group last Flag Day here at the cemetery.
No, the “Philip Barton Key” tied more directly to William Thompson Key was his grandfather, who also served as FSK’s uncle and the namesake for his ill-fated son. Philip Barton Key was born in 1757, near Charlestown, Cecil County. His reputation would always have a stigma because he was a Loyalist during the American Revolutionary War. Mr. Key fought with the British Army from 1777 to 1781 within the Maryland Loyalists Battalion as a captain. He and his entire battalion were captured by the Spanish Army– who were at war with the British– in Pensacola, Florida.
Philip Barton Key was a prisoner for a month in Havana, Cuba before being paroled and sent to New York City until the end of the war. After the conflict, Key went to England for higher education and graduated from the Middle Temple in London in 1784. Afterwards, he read law in 1785 and soon returned to Maryland where he was admitted to the bar. Key entered private practice in Leonardtown, Maryland from 1787 to 1790. He continued private practice in Annapolis, Maryland from 1790 to 1794, and from 1799 to 1800. He was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1794 to 1799, and served as Mayor of Annapolis from 1797 to 1798.
Before leaving office, President John Adams appointed fellow Federalist Philip Barton Key to the position of Chief Judge of the United States Circuit Court for the Fourth Circuit. His service, however, would be short-lived as he was terminated on March 3rd, 1801 for political reasons by new president Thomas Jefferson.
Following his departure from the federal bench, Philip Barton Key resumed private practice in Montgomery County from 1802 to 1807, while also engaging in agricultural pursuits. He also served as counsel for Samuel Chase, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, during his Senate impeachment trial in 1805. Most interesting for our purposes is the fact that Philip Barton Key influenced his young nephew Francis Scott Key to leave Frederick and move to Georgetown and the fledgling capital city in an effort to practice law with him.
Philip Barton Key was elected as a Federalist from Maryland's 3rd congressional district to the United States House of Representatives of the 10th, 11th and 12th United States Congresses, serving from March 4, 1807, to March 3, 1813. He was Chairman of the United States House Committee on the District of Columbia for the 10th United States Congress. Following his departure from Congress, Key resumed private practice in Georgetown from 1813 until his death in 1815. He is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, DC.
Philip Barton Key would give his eldest son his moniker. Philip Barton Key, Jr. was William Thompson Key’s father. Born in Georgetown in 1804 at the family estate of Woodley, Philip Barton Key, Jr.’s mother was the former Ann Plater (1774-1834), a daughter of Governor George Plater of Maryland. Young Philip studied law under his cousin, Francis Scott Key. He was twice married—his first wife, the former Maria Brent Sewall of Prince Georges County, died in 1831. He then married his sister-in-law, the former Maria Laura Sewall (1812-1897) of St. Mary’s County by whom he had ten children.
Philip Barton Key, Jr. practiced law in Annapolis until 1835, at which time he relocated to Ascension Parish, Louisiana near the capital city of Baton Rouge. William Thompson Key was the fifth born of Philip’s children—November 28th, 1841. In 1845, William’s father purchased Acadia Plantation in Lafourche Parish near Thibodaux. This is about 60 miles west of New Orleans. The Key's property would grow to be a 3,400-acre sugar plantation that once served home to the famed Jim Bowie of Alamo fame. In addition to his legislative duties, Mr. Key was a member of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1850.
Originally named Acadie, the name was changed to Acadia in the 1830's. Once owned by Jim Bowie, the hero of the Alamo, whose family owned it from 1827 to 1831. The house was consolidated into one building from two Creole cottages and a shotgun house. Other owners were Philip Barton Key, nephew of Francis Scott Key, and Andrew Donelson, nephew of Rachel Jackson, wife of Andrew Jackson. Federal Troops camped here during the Civil War.
Philip Barton Key, Jr. died at his plantation in 1855 and is interred at St. Joseph's Church Cemetery in Thibodaux. He was laid to rest in a traditional above-ground crypt.
Maria S. Key is listed as head of household in 1860 census as the large family was still at Acadia Plantation at this time.
With the fall of the south during the American Civil War, the plantation was likely lost and Maria moved back home to Maryland and her family home of Centerville in St. Mary’s County. In the 1880 census, 38-year-old William Thompson Key can be found living with her on the eve of his marriage to Josephine Baltzell. This happened here in Frederick on November 15th of that year.
Of course, we don’t have the 1890 census, but I found scant mentions of Mr. and Mrs. Key throughout the decades leading up to the new millennium. The family can be found living in Washington, DC on 1021 East Capitol Street in the late 1880s, with William working as an accountant and clerk for the US Treasury Department.
In 1900, I found William T. Key and his son, William Key, boarding in a house on St. Paul Place in Baltimore. This was near the intersection with Mulberry Street in center city, not far from the actual site of Francis Scott Key’s death in 1843 at Mount Vernon Place. Meanwhile, William and Josephine’s daughter, Louie Key (Ellert), was living in Frederick with her grandmother Josephine (Nelson) Baltzell at the home on East Second Street.
Thanks to the earlier obituary on Dr. William H. Baltzell from 1899, I learned that Josephine Key was residing in Cuba at this time. I don’t know when she returned, but the couple would eventually return to Washington, DC.
William T. Key died on January 10th, 1909 in New Orleans, Louisiana. I don’t know if he was just visiting or residing there with Josephine. Perhaps it was simply a winter escape to warmer surroundings in retirement. William appears to have been buried in the family crypt in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
As a recent widow, Josephine can be found in the 1910 census living with her mother and son Nicholas Sewall at the home on E. 2nd St in Frederick. She would die five years later on February 12th, 1914 at the age of 54. At the time, she was living in Washington, DC with one of her sons. Josephine Key would be laid to rest in the Baltzell family lot here in Mount Olivet (Area E/Lot 29).
There was some definite confusion as our records contain an interment card for William T. Key who is buried right next to Josephine. However, this is not her husband, although our electronic database mistakenly says it is. An original interment card is in conflict and says that this individual passed in Washington, DC on January 26th, 1920 and was 38 years of age. His profession was listed as machinist.
I realized that this was William, Jr., the same son that was living with his father on St. Paul place in the 1900 census. Again, a difficulty lies in the fact that there is no 1890 census to connect him with both parents.
I did find William Key (possible misspelling) in the 1910 census. This gentleman was boarding with a couple on Columbia Avenue and his profession was listed as a machinist working for the B & O Railroad. It’s not far-fetched that this is the same gentleman who died in January, 1920 in Washington.
Either way, William is in an unmarked grave, right next to his mother in the Baltzell family lot.
Thanks to a random meeting of a family from Indiana in March of 2017, I discovered extended members of the family of our most famous resident, found a connection to our Historical Society and was able to clear up a clerical error in our cemetery records database. Best of all, I was able to help the Ellerts understand their genealogy a bit better and take away fond thoughts of Frederick, Maryland.
Another January, and the annual “great re-start” opportunity for each of us. The time for putting New Years’ resolutions in play—"out with the old, in with the new.”
I recently found myself perusing an old, local newspaper from January, 1914 and saw that a popular department store in downtown Frederick seemed to be practicing this mantra to a “T” as they were promoting a yearly clearance sale. Much like our popular county fair, the importance and scope of this event even included the adjective “Great.”
The peculiar family name of this mercantile establishment is no stranger to Fredericktonians as it has been here since our earliest days. The business, itself, carried on through three generations overlapping two centuries, and is commonly known to many local historians and history buffs.
Of course, clearing out inventory at Christmas and years-end is a goal of most businesses, anticipating new fashions and improved products. The Doll Brothers’ Department Store on North Market Street was something to behold. Whenever I think of it, my mind conjures up a giant dollhouse as a play on the German surname “Dohld” which was anglicized along the way to the English “Doll.”
Speaking of dollhouses, in the heyday of this business, there was a three-act play that gained attention and it was called A Doll’s House, written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 21st, 1879, having just been published earlier that month. The play is set in a Norwegian town circa 1879.
Although having no close parallel to Frederick whatsoever, the play is significant for the way it deals with the fate of a married woman, who at the time in Norway lacked reasonable opportunities for self-fulfillment in a male-dominated world. This point stood paramount, despite the fact that Ibsen denied it was his intent to write a feminist play. It aroused a great sensation at the time, and caused a "storm of outraged controversy" that went beyond the theatre to the world of newspapers and society. More recently, in 2006, the centennial of Ibsen's death, A Doll's House held the distinction of being the world's most performed play in that year.
A movie version of the play appeared in 1917 and starred the famed actor Lon Chaney, known for starring roles in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). Of course, I first heard his name as it was mentioned in Warren Zevon’s 1978 smash-hit song “Werewolves of London.” Chaney's ability to transform himself using his own makeup techniques earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces.
I did find mention that Ibsen's play was the center of a dramatic reading at the City Opera House in February, 1914. The woman who did the honors was a talented actress named Madame Harriet Labadie.
I could only imagine if either of the Doll Brothers, Charles Joseph Doll or younger sibling Roger Allen Doll, were in the audience that night in the building we call Brewer’s Alley Restaurant today? Whether they were or were not, their fabled store was only a stone’s throw away.
To give a history on these brothers and the business they ran as third generation operators, I found my answer in T.J.C. Williams’ History of Frederick, Maryland (published 1910). It featured biographies on these brothers, as well as their father (George Joseph Doll) and grandfather (Ezra Doll). Ezra is said to have started the dry goods business.
A search in old newspapers provided me with a very bizarre article about the death of the brothers’ great-grandfather, Joseph Doll (b. 1748) and regarded as an Associator (a member of volunteer military association) during the American Revolution. Mr. Doll was apparently the unfortunate victim of a lethal bolt of lightning and his macabre death was eloquently told in the Republican Advocate newspaper of Frederick in their June 7th, 1805 edition.
Now for the biography on the Dolls found in Williams' History of Frederick County:
“The Doll Brothers, comprising Charles J. and Roger A. Doll, are the proprietors of the leading department store in Western Maryland, located at No. 205-9 North Market Street, Frederick, Md.
Ezra Doll, the grandfather of Charles J. and Roger A. Doll, was for many years a merchant in Frederick City. He was descended from one of the earliest settled families in Frederick County. It was in his store that G. J. Doll, the father of the members of the above firm, received his first practical insight into mercantile methods. He evinced exceptional aptitude for his chosen pursuit from the very outset, and for over forty-five years was one of the most successful merchants of Frederick. He directed the affairs of his establishment with an ability, foresight and sagacity that stamped him as a man of high executive capacity and rare mercantile acumen. To his forceful personality was due much of the prestige and prosperity attained by him, and he became widely prominent in mercantile circles as one of the ablest and most representative men identified with that branch of industry. A merchant of the old school, whose business methods were characterized by the highest principles, he commanded respect and confidence of business and financial circles generally.
I couldn't find much more on Ezra other than he dabbled in politics, and owned property (10 and 12 East 5th Street from 1825-1838) in town. He also owned farms outside town with part of Bear Den (Worman's Mill vicinity) and another property on Old Annapolis Road. Jacob Engelbrecht recorded the death of Ezra Doll in his famed diary on Thursday, September 29th, 1842:
“Died yesterday morning in the 43rd year of his age Mr. Ezra Doll of our vicinity, farmer, son of the late Joseph Doll, Junior, & son in law of the late George Zieler. Buried on the German Reformed graveyard.”
Ezra Doll's body would be removed to Mount Olivet from the German Reformed graveyard (today's Memorial Park) at the time of his wife Harriet's death in February, 1886. Both are buried beneath a sizeable monument in Area C/lot 170.
George Joseph Doll was only 14 years old when his father died in 1842. He had to grow up fast to assist his widowed mother and younger siblings. The 1850 census shows the Dolls living in downtown Frederick. George is referred to by his middle name "Joseph" and is working as a cabinetmaker. His brother Samuel would follow in this trade based at the Doll residence confirmed to be on the southside of E. 2nd Street between Market and Middle Alley as mentioned earlier.
Williams' History of Frederick County says the following about George Joseph Doll:
“G. J. Doll was a native of Frederick County, where he was born in 1829, and died in 1895. In politics he was a Republican, and a Union sympathizer during the Civil War. In religion he was an active and consistent member of the Lutheran Church. Fraternally, he was a member of the Masons and numerous other organizations. Mr. Doll was married to Elizabeth Wisong. They were the parents of nine children, eight of whom grew to maturity: Ellen Virginia, the wife of L. P. Sheerer, of Charlotte, N.C.; Elizabeth W., unmarried, of Frederick City; Charles J., of whom presently; Melville E., office clerk for Doll Brothers; Henry W., employed by the Baltimore Bargain House, Baltimore, Md.; Roger A., of whom presently; George J., in the employment of the Frederick City Brush works; and Frank A., deceased.”
George J. Doll originally went into business with a man named Caleb A. Anders (1828-1888). The earliest advertisements for this partnership were from the summer of 1857. By spring of the following year, Mr. Doll was the sole proprietor. He had quickly built up his reputation after opening his mercantile store of dry goods and groceries. In other pursuits, George J. Doll was quite active with the Junior Fire Company, and possessed musical talents to lead their company musical group named "the American Band."
The Civil War would captivate the minds and lives of Frederick residents over the next half decade. It would also impede commerce and regular business as well. Ironically, I found an advertisement from 1860 in which Mr. Doll was touting extension skirts fashioned by "Southern Belles," although he would prove to be a steadfast Union man. He did not serve in the military because of his business standing, but the Mr. Doll's business was slowed during the period. He also had a large family to tend to as well during this turbulent decade. George J. Doll bought the property that is now 205-207 North Market Street in 1863, the site of his successful store.
George J. Doll bought the house currently sitting at 11-13 West 2nd Street in 1872 for his home (his heirs sold it in 1909). Like other successful businessmen, he had a country home as well. George owned the property originally known as Mount Prospect and later as "Cronise's Prospect" from 1868 to 1872. This is known as "Poff's Prospect" today and is located at 11530 Auburn Road, just south of Springfield Manor on the west side of US 15 north of Frederick west of Lewistown. At the same time, he also owned a 13-acre mountain tract. Mr. Doll also bought a 446-acre property known as "Surry" on the Woodsboro Turnpike in 1893 which his heirs sold in 1910.
George J. Doll did a great deal to improve his business, including a major renovation in 1875. His son Charles Joseph Doll would join him in business around this time at the age of 16.
I couldn't determine who the gentleman, or brother, referred to with the firm's name of G. J. Doll & Bro. in the late 1860s and early 1870s. However, I did find that a few years after the store renovation, it came time for George to groom his heir apparent in the form of his oldest son, Charles Joseph Doll. This occurred in 1889. The firm's name was changed to G. J. Doll & Son at this time.
(Williams' History) “Charles J. Doll, of the firm of Doll Brothers, was born August 14, 1859. In politics he is a Republican, and is a consistent member of the Lutheran Church. He is a director of the Farmers’ and Mechanics National Bank of Frederick. Mr. Doll was married to Mary L. Cramer, of Frederick City, who is descended of an old and respected family of Frederick County. They are the parents of two children: Frank A. and Marianna.
Roger A. Doll, younger partner in the firm of Doll Brothers, was born October 26, 1873. He was married to E. L. Sanders. There is no issue by this marriage."
Just a few years after his official retirement in 1893, George J. Doll passed at the age of 66 on December 1st, 1895. The official cause of death was paralysis from Brights Disease. He would be buried in his father's extended lot in Area C/Lot 172.
Charles and Roger did their father proud and continued to grow the business into the 20th century. The Williams' history continues with a vivid description of their triumphs:
(Williams' History) "In 1893, Charles J. and Roger A. Doll established the present firm of Doll Brothers, at the stand of their father. The business was a success from the start, and continued to grow until their quarters became inadequate and a new building was erected by them in 1906. The edifice is a handsome three-story brick structure, 38 feet in width and 100 feet in depth, finished in hard oak and hard oil finishing. In the construction and design of the building, and adaptation to business, there is evinced an amount of care and study down to the smallest details that is truly remarkable. The first floor is devoted to dry goods, dress goods, notions, etc.; the second floor to carpets, rugs, mattings, etc.; also, ladies’ suits, cloaks, waists and other things in that line. The third floor is for reserve stock. The building is electrically lighted, and the pneumatic tube cash system is used. The firm carries the largest stock of its kind in Western Maryland, and Charles J. Doll, who does the buying, makes weekly trips to Baltimore in order to keep their stock constantly refreshed.”
The firm would continue to prosper in the decades to follow, but a tragic event would occur in 1930. After a lengthy and relaxing vacation in Atlantic City, Charles J. Doll would return to work in the family store, but not for long. On July 2nd, 1930, Mr. Doll apparently became distraught over the death of close friend and fellow Frederick merchant, D. Columbus Kemp. He would surprisingly take his own life on this very day sending shock waves through the community.
Another sad part of this story gleaned through recent research came in finding that Charles' wife, Mary (Cramer) Doll had to endure the tragedy of suicide of loved ones twice in her life. Her father, also a noted businessman in town, took his own life in a similar manner as her husband back in November of 1893. His name was George William Cramer.
Roger Doll would take over the family business with assistance from Charles’ son-in-law, Alvin H. Crawford, Sr. who had married Marianna Doll. Mr. Crawford had been made a partner back in 1924.
However, just over a year beyond Charles’ death, the firm called it quits.
Roger would enjoy his retirement. He eventually died in 1958 and would be buried in the same lot on Area T as his brother and business partner for all those years.
Parsons Store, under the direction of I. Manning Parsons, Jr., would take the place of Doll Brothers in 1931 and had a very successful run in its own right of 53 years. Alvin H. Crawford, Sr. was retained as manager for Parsons Store. I found the old newspapers filled with ads for Mr. Parson's business. I was particularly impressed with ads from the 1950s in which he touted his establishment being entirely air-conditioned.
In 1984, next-door neighbor Connie Cook (of Connies) purchased the building and business from Mr. Parsons. Today the old Doll Building is home to a "home goods store" called Creme de la Creme. Looking at photographs of this latest endeavor online, it's easy to imagine and envision the Doll Brothers Store of a century ago and more.
From the street or sidewalk outside, one can look high atop the north side of the structure (and next door neighbor Bushwallers) and faintly make out the word "cloaks" within the advertising message painted on the facade for Parsons. This message covered up an earlier one for Doll Brothers, or perhaps just the store owner's name was all that changed. What a great business legacy this "dollhouse" has had.
Christmastime is here—literally and figuratively, of course.
I decided to look for a few interesting connections to Christmas at Mount Olivet, employing, of course, my keen senses, research skills and my uncanny curiosity to find relations between those interred in our cemetery and local, state and national history. I also enjoy linkages to pop culture, past and present. I have gathered a few yuletide tidbits pertaining to three specific individuals to share with you. But before I get to that, I’d like to share some intriguing items found in a local newspaper edition from Christmas 1862.
Since I’m still running on fumes from our recent “Wreaths Across America” Day and program here at Mount Olivet last weekend, I still have military veterans firmly on my mind—and how could I not? One location (in the cemetery) that received a good number of wreaths last week was a quiet corner located on the southernmost tip of Area C. This is where 17 former Union soldiers are buried in a 3-lot parcel bought, and owned, by the local Frederick Chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic.
After the American Civil War, this veteran's organization was commonly referred to as the G.A.R., founded on April 6th, 1866, in Decatur, Illinois. As a benevolent organization to help with health and burial needs of Union veterans, one can find G.A.R. symbolism and monuments throughout American cemeteries marking the graves of men and women who served during the war.
This spring, I plan to tackle a lengthier discussion on this particular lot and those in it with a specifically aimed “Story in Stone.” As for this “holiday edition” of our blog, I’d like you the reader to put yourself in the shoes of a Frederick soldier or civilian resident experiencing Christmas, 1862 with the country at war. To give context, the attack on Fort Sumter was in April, 1861, and the First Battle of Bull Run occurred on July 21st, of 1861 in Manassas, Virginia. Just over a year later, the Second Battle of Bull Run took place in late August and was a decisive Confederate victory. This prompted Gen. Robert E. Lee to cross the Potomac River and bring the war to the North (or Union) for the first time. The first major, northern (or Union) town he would bring his Army of Northern Virginia would be Frederick in early September.
The Rebels entered on September 4th and 5th and stayed until the 10th. The rest, as they say, is history. These soldiers were mostly seen as unwelcome guests, and they departed heading west out of town toward the Middletown Valley, and points on the other side of South Mountain. Two high-pitched battles would follow: The battle of South Mountain occurred at three mountain gaps west of Middletown and Burkittsville on September 14th, followed by the Battle of Antietam just three days later.
These two conflicts brought two major armies through our area as Gen. George McClellan and the Union Army of the Potomac pursued the Confederates coming up from Washington, DC and through Frederick city and county. The result of both battles made “one vast hospital” out of Frederick as all public buildings, schools, churches and private homes were commandeered in an effort to take care of the large number of wounded and sick men of both armies.
Sufficed to say, it was a troubling fall and winter. Certainly not to downplay our last two holiday seasons with Covid-19 at the forefront, but this was a true time of turmoil where people were dying at the hands of fellow Americans. The Union was under siege, and no end or compromise was clearly in sight. I found it interesting that a newspaper edition of the Maryland Union was published and distributed on Thursday, December 25th of that year.
I’m thinking that the thirst for knowledge and information at this particular time certainly outweighed the opportunity to take the day off from continued critical thinking amidst the hostile environment of the country at that time. In that newspaper of Christmas Day, our cemetery’s first superintendent, William T. Duvall provided the newspaper with a bi-weekly report of the Civil War dead that had been buried in Mount Olivet from December 6th through 20th. To give some context, Mount Olivet had an agreement in place with the federal government to bury the dead from both armies, but did so in two distinct rows along the cemetery’s northern and western perimeters.
Listing of the dead
Note that there were many more Union soldiers than Confederate? Today, those Confederate soldiers listed are still resting here, but as for the Union boys, most that perished during wartime and subsequently buried here like those listed in the article were moved to Sharpsburg and the national cemetery dedicated on September 17th, 1867. This was the fifth anniversary of “the bloodiest one-day battle in US history.“
Back to that newspaper of December 25th, 1862. The war naturally dominated the news of the day, just like the Omicron variant, mask mandates and vaccine debates of today. I found another prominent article talking about Col. Henry Cole and his cavalry outfit. Cole was commander of this group originally organized as the 1st Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry, and better known as Cole's Cavalry of Maryland Volunteers (1861-1865).
Again, this gentleman will be the recipient of a future story. I will say that he was living in Baltimore at the time of his death in 1909 at age 70, but is buried here in Mount Olivet’s Area R/Lot 98. His grave also received a wreath last week as part of our Wreaths Across America program.
Further down the newspaper column, I found another treat—the obituary of our legendary heroine of the Civil War, the incomparable Barbara Fritchie. Barbara had actually died the previous Thursday on December 18th at the age of 96, having had a birthday just weeks before on December 8th, 1862.
You may be surprised that there was absolutely no mention of Barbara’s flag-waving heroics at all in this obituary, something you would certainly expect to see mention of. Based on her fame as a folk hero, I think a headline announcing her death on the front page would have been warranted, but alas, this was simply page 2 news!
There is a reason this did not happen, and the simple explanation is that John Greenleaf Whittier would not write his famous poem until the following year of 1863. It was published in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in October 1863. And that’s when the name of Barbara Fritchie became a household name in the North, and a “propagandic strike” at Confederate chivalry in the South.
Barbara Fritchie became famous, as did her hometown. The Barbara Fritchie we know today can be somewhat contradicted by this humble obituary, and lack of news coverage throughout the fall of 1862 for this sacred event and the validity of her supposed actions on September 10th, 1862 at her home on West Patrick Street by Carroll Creek. You may recall that Frederick diarist Jacob Engelbrecht commented on the incident in his diary, remarking that the article in the magazine was the first he had heard of it, as he lived directly across the street and noticed nothing of the sort occurring throughout that particular day and involving the feeble, nonagenarian.
A final thing in this particular newspaper caught my eye. It was a Christmas-themed advertisement for Henry Goldenberg’s millinery business on Market Street. Interestingly, I researched this gentleman a few years back, but he is not buried in Mount Olivet. Mr. Goldenberg ran his business out of a shop a few doors north of the Market House (today’s location of Brewers Alley). This location was formerly the site of the above-mentioned Jacob Engebrecht’s tailoring shop, a business whom he partnered with for some time with his brother, Michael, before moving to a new location across the street from the Fritchie home on West Patrick Street.
The Baltimore native, Mr. Goldenberg, would continue to be prosperous here in Frederick until making a fateful decision to re-locate to Johnstown, PA in March, 1884. Five years later, Henry Goldenberg would be a victim of our country’s most infamous flood on May 31st, 1889. To read more, click on the button below to read a story I wrote about Mr. Goldenberg back in May, 2020 for my HSP History Blog.
We have left 1862 and now I have you time traveling to a century ago to look at Christmas, 1921. Life around these parts had truly returned to normal, especially considering the situation and mood in town three years previously. Perhaps you could say it was reminiscent of Christmas 1862 in a way?
In 1918, our troops had just experienced victory on the battlefields of France on November 11th with the armistice to end the First World War. Celebration was tempered here at home, however, because we were still battling a formidable foe in the form of the Great Spanish Flu pandemic which had killed 50,000,000 worldwide and created 500 million cases. One hundred of these victims are buried here in Mount Olivet, including three brothers of the Toms family. The third of these, Lester A. Toms, died on December 22nd and was buried here on Christmas Eve.
Aside from this depressing news, I was happy to find two articles that made me smile. Both featured individuals buried here in Mount Olivet, James Alonza Jones and Thomas Henry Haller. Mr. Jones was mentioned in one of my earlier “Stories in Stone” entitled “Casey Jones you Better, Watch your Speed” from August, 2017.
In this foray, I found two Frederick men with the nickname of “Casey” Jones like the famed John Luther “Casey” Jones of Tennessee immortalized as an American folk hero thanks to an original song by Wallace Saunders. Some may be more familiar with the later song of the same name by the Grateful Dead, which puts a more psychedelic spin on the old legend.
Our two Mount Olivet “Casey Jones” include Charles Edwin Jones (1871-1950) in Area OO/Lot 132 and George Arthur Jones (1895-1971). This latter gentleman's father, James Alonza Jones (1870-1939), headed Frederick City’s police department from 1901-1910 and was elected Frederick County Sheriff in 1921. He also served as superintendent for the Montevue Home for the Aged before, and after, his term as sheriff.
James A. Jones’ name made the paper quite a bit, including early November of 1921 when he was victorious in the Sheriff’s race for county elections that year. However, just over a month on the job, Jones did something on Christmas that would surely endure him to me.
James A. Jones made a strong statement through this kind gesture on this day. He passed in 1939 and is buried in Area P/Lot 188 next to wife Clara Margaret (Crum) Jones.
In this same edition of The Frederick News, I found a curious little message in the form of a print ad and attributed to one, Thomas H. Haller. It was entitled A Christmas Song. His message was an age old one.
Thomas Henry Haller was born in the vicinity of South Market Street on December 8th, 1855, the son of Thomas Henry Haller, Sr. and Caroline Rebecca Fessler. His obituary is crammed with amazing achievements in regard to Frederick’s history. The prominent businessman headed up his own dry goods store for decades, along with taking the helm as a director for other amazing companies and endeavors such as the Union Knitting Mills, the Frederick and Hagerstown Railway and the Economy Silo Factory. Linkages with the Citizens Bank and Frederick Building Company also come as no surprise.
Mr. Haller would pass on October 21st, 1935 at the time living at 101 Council Street adjacent the former county courthouse. He is buried in Area MM/Lot 84, not far from Gov. Thomas Johnson. His obituary paints quite a life story—one that explains his mantra and message of Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men as he was heavily involved in Frederick’s charitable and benevolent activity throughout his adult life. I also found these memorials in the newspaper in the days following his death as they pertained to Mr. Haller and two financial oriented Boards he participated on through the “Roaring 20s,“ followed by “the Stock Market Crash of 1929” and “Great Depression Era” to follow.
When I read about the Frederick Building Company, I somehow thought of the Christmastime classic movie that revolves around a small-town building and loan company of this era. I’m, of course, talking about the fictional Bailey Building & Loan of Bedford Falls (NY) from the 1946 Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life. The firm in question was started by Peter Bailey in 1903, and later turned over to the film’s central character, George Bailey, played by actor Jimmy Stewart.
George Bailey was born in 1907, and the film opens with a children’s group sledding scene taking place around the time of Christmas, 1918. Multiple kids are sledding on a frozen pond, including 12-year-old George and his kid brother, Harry (b. 1911). Unfortunately, Harry was too young to control his sled away from a weak spot on the ice, and soon plunged into the frigid water below. Without hesitation, George heroically saved the life of his younger brother by unselfishly jumping into the water and pulling his brother to safety. In the process, George lost the hearing in his left ear as a result.
The movie eventually flashes forward to 1929, and the death of George’s father, saddling him with running the family business (Bailey Building and Loan) and squelching his dream since childhood of traveling the world. George would begrudgingly sacrifice his utmost desire in order to serve his fellow citizens and neighbors in Bedford Falls, a decision he would continue to regret.
A lot happens along the way including George starting a family, but a confrontation against the villainous town scrooge, Mr. Henry F. Potter, and a series of missteps and trials puts George on the brink of committing suicide. George says he wishes he hadn’t been born at all, thinking his life was a waste and the world is a better place without him. An angel named Clarence is sent to intercede and shows George just how many lives he touched along the way. If George Bailey hadn’t been born, a chain reaction of terrible things would have beset many characters already introduced in the movie, not to mention the town of Bedford Falls would be a far different place.
One of the worst of these “losses” would have surely resulted in the death of George’s brother, Harry, who would grow up to be a decorated pilot in World War II. Harry’s bravery saved multiple lives of serviceman aboard a transport ship through his heroics in battle. George’s little brother later became a successful businessman. As George earlier showed jealousy towards his younger brother’s successes, he now sees the light that his selfless acts and sacrifices allowed people like his brother to live and succeed, thus he could share in these amazing triumphs as well.
Well that long description brings me to my last person of interest to tell you about here who connects to Christmas. We do not have a George Bailey here at Mount Olivet, but we do have a Harry George Bayley! He is buried in Area B/Lot 144.
Now finding info on this individual was quite difficult. He was born in Frederick in June, 1880, the son of Frye Bayley and Mary Margaret Rosanna Haller (1857-). Once again, to show that Frederick was still a small town in the big picture, Mary, aka Mamie, Haller was a first cousin of our forementioned Christmas poet—merchant/building and loan man Thomas Henry Haller. Mary’s father, Michael Henry Haller (1811-1889) and Thomas’ father, John Thomas Haller (1816-1882), were brothers and sons of Tobias Haller (1775-1818) and wife Matilda Elizabeth Heichler (1772-1863).
Frye W. Bayley, an auditor for the B&O Railroad and Mary who was listed as a mantua maker in the 1880 census. In the 1900 census, the family can be found living at 972 Riggs Avenue near the intersection with North Fulton Avenue in northwest Baltimore. Up the street on the right corner is Mount Pisgah CME Church. Harry was the oldest of three children, having two younger sisters in Lidie and Bessie.
Details of Harry Bayley’s life are scarce as I said, as our subject’s life was cut short of experiencing “a wonderful life,” dying at the age of 21. Our records simply say that Harry died of complications of disease on June 2nd, 1902 in his hometown of Baltimore. His body would be delivered to Frederick by train, and he was buried in a plot on Area B/Lot 144 as mentioned earlier. This was a lot where his grandparents were buried, and today includes several aunts, uncles and a few maiden great aunts from his mother’s Haller family.
Harry G. Bayley’s parents lived for decades after. They are not buried here at Mount Olivet, but rather Lorraine Park Cemetery in Baltimore. His father died in 1933, and Frederick native mother in 1952.
I thought about poor Harry George Bayley the other night as I enjoyed my annual viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life. I read that Frank Capra once affirmed the movie’s purpose in an interview. He said:
“The importance of the individual is the theme that it tells: that no man is a failure and that every man has something to do with his life. If he’s born, he’s born to do something.”
George Bailey’s biography shows us that every life holds infinite possibilities, sending ripples out into the farthest reaches of the world. I like to apply that to all who are buried in Frederick’s Mount Olivet Cemetery, and burying grounds everywhere.
What a nice thought when strolling through a cemetery, and thinking about the countless “lives once lived.” So many connections when I ponder how many peoples’ lives here were affected, shaped, and molded, (hopefully for the better), by others who may well lie in close proximity in our garden cemetery. Regardless of the stresses, strains and challenges of life be it 1862, 1918, 1921 or 2021, we all have the ability to see the wonders and good in life, and how we may affect family, friends and aquaintances in the process of living from day to day.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and thanks for the support of Mount Olivet’s preservation of history over the past year.
With 2022 on the doorstep, consider a membership in the Friends of Mount Olivet where our mission is to preserve the historic records, structures and stones of the cemetery. In addition to those wanting to do volunteer history research and stone cleaning, we also have a calendar of special social events ranging from lectures and walking tours to other special events and get-togethers.
Well, it’s that special time of year once again here at Mount Olivet, and no, I’m not talking about Christmas. While the cemetery looks great with many grave monuments decorated for the holiday season, I’m instead referring to the third of Mount Olivet’s commemorative military trifecta--Wreaths Across America. The others include Memorial and Veteran days.
We have over 4,000 men and women buried here who served in the US military. Many participated in active combat in conflicts including the American Revolution, War of 1812, the Mexican War, American Civil War, Spanish-American War, the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and Afghanistan. As more and more research is done, we seem to find our total number of vets here growing.
Unlike Arlington or other veteran cemeteries, we have military men and women representing 10% of our cemetery grave population. (40,000+). This makes identifying veterans buried here without military markers a tough task. This is especially true if the individual in question moved here from elsewhere after completing their service.
This Saturday, December the 18th, 2021, we will be hosting our fourth annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) Day. We won’t be alone, of course, but joined simultaneously by the fore-mentioned Arlington National Cemetery down the road, and over 1,600 additional locations throughout the United States, and at sea and abroad. Each site will include a host of volunteers and sponsors celebrating WAA’s mission of Remembering, Honoring and Teaching through the placement of special wreaths on veteran graves.
This year, we came ever closer to our ultimate goal of covering all 4,000 graves with wreaths. Our final tally was 3,411, and again we sincerely thank all of our partners and sponsors for making this possible. On the other hand, we may not be thanking the “weather gods” as rain is in the forecast. This has been the case each year, however last December we were spared rain, but had eight inches of snow dumped on us three days before the event. This presented a challenge in uncovering graves to lay the wreaths, but we thankfully had our Veteran's Day flags on graves to help guide us.
All in all, the weather isn’t important, but remembering the magnitude of the sacrifices made by these men and women in uniform for our freedom and liberty is all that counts. This is why we are involved in this important program, and will continue to hold it here in a patriotic cemetery where the grave of the guy who wrote our national anthem is just inside our front gate.
In this installment of "Stories in Stone," I want to briefly call out two veterans whose grave sites will be adorned with wreaths this upcoming weekend. Other than having German lineage, they could not be more different. Each participated in conflicts separated by 130 years, however their lives were only separated by 57 years. They were both non-combatant members of infantry-based units, and played different roles than typical ground soldiers. One was a musician, and the other a nurse. Our subjects this week are Pvt. Michael Engelbrecht in Area Q, and 2LT Kathryn Hoffman in Area LL.
Private Michael Engelbrecht served as a principal musician in the Frederick County militia in the War of 1812. He served under Capt. James F. Huston and then Capt. Joseph Green from July 23rd to October 13th, 1814.
Engelbrecht was born in Frederick Town on February 14th, 1792. His father was Johann Conrad Engelbrecht of Germany. His father fought as a mercenary soldier under the British throne during the American Revolution. Michael’s father had been captured at Yorktown and he and his his “colleagues” were transported to our very own Frederick Hessian Barracks, located a few short blocks down from Francis Scott Key and our cemetery front gate.
These men were loosely guarded and found work at many local farms, owned by German immigrants who had migrated here in the decades predating the war. Several of these men decided to stay here after the war, not returning to Germany. Can you blame them? There was a great deal of strife happening back home in Western Europe, and Frederick Town was appealing for several reasons. These included: the German language was generally spoken more commonly than English here at this time; there was opportunity in the form of farming and working the trades including having a market for gifted immigrant craftsman. Best of all, there were plenty of cute and talented German females living in town and county who would make perfect marriage partners.
Johannes Conrad Engelbrecht (1758-1819) settled here and worked as a tailor, and married Anna Margareth Houx. His family home was in the first block of E. Church St., on the south side of the street, between the corner of Market Street and the alley that runs between Church and Patrick immediately west of Winchester Hall . This is where Michael grew up, surrounded by six siblings, as he was the third of seven children. These included Frederick (b. 1786-1843), John Conrad (1790-1847), George (1795-1874), Jacob (1798-1878) and Catherine (Engelbrecht) Hardt (1805-1885). You may be familiar with Michael's little brother Jacob Engelbrecht, as he had quite a way with his pen, keeping a diary from 1817 until his death. He wrote about everything and every person.
Michael attended school here and was a devout member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, practically just across the street from his home. Two of the Engelbrecht boys answered the call of the "Second War for Independence" against our old foe, Great Britain. Michael was 22 years-old in 1814, and held the position of "fifer" in the militia company led by Capt. James Huston and others. Michael's brother, William, served as well but under Capt. Nicholas Turbott and in the role of an infantry private.
I was curious as to the importance of fifers in warfare. A few years back. I marveled at the role of buglers in World War I as they were used as message "runners" for high command. This was the specific case with another veteran here at Mount Olivet named William Theodore Kreh.
A fifer is a non-combatant military occupation of a foot soldier who originally played this instrument during combat. The practice was instituted during the period of Early Modern warfare to sound signals during changes in formation, such as the line, and were also members of the regiment's military band during marches. These soldiers, often boys too young to fight or sons of NCOs, were used to help infantry battalions to keep marching pace from the right of the formation in coordination with the drummers positioned at the center and relayed orders in the form of sequences of musical signals.
The fife was particularly useful because of its high-pitched sound, which could be heard over the sounds of battle. Fifers were present in numerous wars of note, as Armies of the 18th and 19th centuries "depended on company fifers and drummers for communicating orders during battle, regulating camp formations and duties, and providing music for marching, ceremonies, and moral."
All I can share with you about Michael Engelbrecht's military experience is what I can glean from Sallie A. Mallick and F. Edward Wright's Frederick County Maryland Militia in the War of 1812 (2008).
The Company of Captain Lewis (Emmitsburg Area) served from July 23, 1814 until January 10, 1815. They served at Bladensburg, Annapolis and Baltimore. According to one veteran, Captain Lewis Weaver commanded the company at the Battle of Bladensburg and after the engagement took his company to Baltimore. They arrived at camp outside of Baltimore on September 4, 1814. At some point he was cashiered and succeeded by Captain James Huston who in turn was succeeded by Captain Joseph Green of Emmitsburg who remained in command until the company was discharged on January 10, 1815 at Annapolis.
Sergeant Martin Shultz stated that when Captain Huston was taken sick he returned to Frederick and never rejoined the regiment. From that point the company remained under the command of Lieutenant Thomas W. Morgan until Captain Green took command and retained it until the company was discharged. A reference is made in the Frederick-town Herald to the departure of a company under the command of Captain James Huston during the last week of July of 1814. From this item it can be concluded that Huston first commanded the company followed by Weaver, perhaps Morgan, and finally Green.
On December 31, 1814, a reward was posted in the Frederick-town Herald for deserters from this company. Fifty had deserted in Baltimore, three deserted at Annapolis and two had deserted at Bladensburg. Captain Green offered $550.00 for the return of the men at his headquarters at Annapolis.
Mallick and Wright included a roll list from that period of July-October, 1814 that included the major activity in our region including the Battle of Bladensburg and the Battle of Baltimore at which Francis Scott Key put pen to paper and came up with that catchy song about the US flag. The roll includes the names all the non-commissioned militia members numbering 90 and 14 commissioned officers including the name of Capt. James Huston and another interesting find, George W. Hoffman. Hoffman was an ensign who was promoted to 2nd lieutenant on September 20th, 1814. (Note: Keep this nugget for later on in this story.)
Lastly, this company had three musicians: Michael Engelbrecht, George Shade and John Stauffer. Stauffer (1802-1878) was the drummer and apparently deserted on September 25th, 1814. Perhaps we need to cut this volunteer veteran some slack as he was only 12 years-old during the time of his military service. He lived out his life as a farmer in Woodsboro and would be re-buried here in Mount Olivet in 1924 from his original resting place of the Shiloh Methodist Protestant Churchyard in Walkersville. His gravesite is in Area U/Lot 78.
Michael’s obituary appeared in the Frederick Examiner newspaper in July of 1886. Here we can get a better image of this man and the life he experienced.
Two important notes to point out regarding this article. First, Engelbrecht was spelled incorrectly throughout the article, and I’m sure Jacob told the newspapers editor about it too. Secondly, Michael went into business with brothers Jacob and William on May 7th, 1841 at a location on N. Market Street between Church and Patrick streets. This was after his hiatus of a couple of decades where he had re-located to Geneva, Ontario County, NY.
Michael moved to upstate New York in 1814 and lived at the northern tip of Seneca Lake until 1830. I learned that he was employed in the tailoring business of Jacob and Sarah Backenstose, and eventually became a partner of this firm. Jacob Backenstose (1769-1813) was the first tailor in western New York and well-reputed among the elite. I assume that Mr. Backenstose' death prompted Michael's re-location as they could have been earlier associates or perhaps relatives of some degree.
Michael returned to Frederick in 1830 and would spend the next 56 years working and living in his native home. The tailoring shop operated by him and brother Jacob is said to have been located just a few doors north of the Market House (today's Brewer's Alley) in the 1859/1860 William's Frederick Directory City Guide.
To reiterate another part of the obituary in respect to Michael’s personal life and connections to Mount Olivet, I want to mention his wife and daughters. In 1838, on August 28th, Michael married Rebecca Reed McMullin in Philadelphia. Michael’s bride was born in 1802 in Port Penn, Delaware which today neighbors Delaware City, Delaware to its north—the hometown (and final resting spot) of my father, grandparents, great-grandparents and two earlier generations dating back to the early 19th century.
Sadly, Rebecca and Michael’s time would be cut short at less than a decade with her death on January 28th, 1847. She was only 45 years old. Rebecca was buried in the churchyard of Frederick’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Michael would continue to raise their two known children into adulthood: Mary Ann Engelbrecht (1839-1880) and married William Henry Kline in 1860; and Rebecca Reed Engelbrecht (1841-1901) and married John Jacob Sahm, Jr. in 1864. Mary Ann is buried here in Area C/Lot 51 and Rebecca is in Area B/Lot 60.
Michael Engelbrecht was Frederick’s oldest resident at the time of his death. We already know the gift of a diary that Jacob left as his legacy, just imagine the stories told by Michael whose life spanned an amazing time in our country. Fittingly, he is buried close by our town’s most famous nonagenarian who achieved the same age of 96—Barbara Fritchie.
A few months after his death, Rebecca Engelbrecht’s body was unearthed from its resting spot in the Lutheran churchyard and re-interred here with that of her husband.
Kathryn L. Hoffman
The front page of the Frederick News edition of January 19th, 1943 carried the sad news of the untimely death of a local woman serving the war effort on the opposite coast of the country. 2LT Kathryn L. Hoffman was a nurse serving at Fort Ord in Monterey, California.
Additional details would pepper the newspaper over the next several days as the young Adamstown resident would be fondly remembered as her body would make its way back home for burial. Kathryn was born May 26th, 1919 in Adamstown, the daughter of schoolteacher John Calvin Hoffman and wife, Mabel Viola (Whipp) Hoffman.
Kathryn’s mother would die on July 28th, 1930 at the age of 48. She would be buried on Area LL/Lot 162.
Mr. Hoffman would raise his three daughters into adulthood in the same manner as the fore-mentioned Michael Engelbrecht. He had help as he would re-marry, and this woman was named Lucy Schwartz. The girls would all do their mother proud. Helen Lenore (1910-2006) graduated from Hood College, and Mary Evelyn (1915-2001) Brown's husband, Carl E. Brown, was a familiar face at the C. Burr Artz Library Maryland Room for many years when I began my local history pursuits in the 1990s.
Kathryn Hoffman was a 1936 graduate of Frederick High School and 1940 graduate of the Frederick City Nursing School, part of the Georgianna Simmons Nurses Home located in conjunction with the former Frederick City Hospital, known until recently as Frederick Memorial Hospital.
Kathryn was no stranger to California as her older sister Helen (Hoffman) Holter had moved out there in the late 1930s. A newspaper article mentions a visit the young nurse had in 1940.
It appears that Kathryn was part of the Army’s Third Corps and stationed in Baltimore when she received her next assignment in mid-fall, 1941, just a few months before the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor.
Kathryn would be sent to Fort Ord, located on Monterey Bay. This installation was named for Edward Otho Cresap Ord (1818 – 1883) an American engineer and United States Army officer who saw action in the Seminole War, the Indian Wars, and the American Civil War. He commanded an army during the final days of the Civil War, and was instrumental in forcing the surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Most interesting to me was the fact that Gen. Ord was a native of Cumberland, MD and descended from the legendary Cresaps of Oldtown, masters of the colonial Maryland frontier.
Today Fort Ord is no longer a US Army base having closed in 1994. Instead, in 2012 a 14,651-acre portion of the former post was designated a national monument which helps to interpret the installation’s history dating back to World War I. An online history of the fort states:
“After the American entry into World War I, land was purchased just north of the city of Monterey along Monterey Bay for use as an artillery training field for the United States Army by the U.S. Department of War. The area was known as the Gigling Reservation, U.S. Field Artillery Area, Presidio of Monterey and Gigling Field Artillery Range. Although military development and construction was just beginning, the War only lasted for another year and a half until the armistice in November 11, 1918.
Despite a great demobilization of the U.S. Armed Forces during the inter-war years of the 1920s and 1930s, by 1933, the artillery field became Camp Ord, named in honor of Union Army Maj. Gen. Edward Otho Cresap Ord, (1818–1883). Primarily, horse cavalry units trained on the camp until the military began to mechanize and train mobile combat units such as tanks, armored personnel carriers and movable artillery.
By 1940, the 23-year-old Camp Ord was expanded to 2,000 acres, with the realization that the two-year-old conflict of World War II could soon cross the Atlantic Ocean to involve America. In August 1940, it was re-designated Fort Ord and the 7th Infantry Division was reactivated, becoming the first major unit to occupy the post. Sub camps were built around the Fort to support the new training of Troops, Camp Clayton. Camp Clayton was built near CA Highway 1, the South Dakota National Guard 147th Artillery were the first unit to train at the new camp.
In 1941, Camp Ord became Fort Ord. But soon the first threat came from the west as the Imperial Japanese Navy struck the island of Oahu, Hawaii at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu in an unannounced air attack, Sunday, December 7, 1941. In a few days the other Axis powers, such as Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, along with Fascist Italy of Benito Mussolini, declared and spread their war in Europe against Great Britain and France and the Low Countries to the U.S.”
LT. Hoffman spent the holidays at her new, and final, home of Fort Ord. This program of Christmas Day festivities was found online. LT. Hoffman's name appears on page 4. Please note that cigars and cigarettes were on the menu as part of the dinner, especially interesting for a hospital, right? It was a different era, all-together.
I became quite interested in the role and responsibilities associated with the Army Nurse Corps of World War II. I learned plenty from a brochure prepared in the U.S. Army Center of Military History by Judith A. Bellafaire. Here is a segment from Ms. Bellafaire’s publication (https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/72-14/72-14.htm):
“More than 59,000 American nurses served in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. Nurses worked closer to the front lines than they ever had before. Within the "chain of evacuation" established by the Army Medical Department during the war, nurses served under fire in field hospitals and evacuation hospitals, on hospital trains and hospital ships, and as flight nurses on medical transport planes. The skill and dedication of these nurses contributed to the extremely low post-injury mortality rate among American military forces in every theater of the war. Overall, fewer than 4 percent of the American soldiers who received medical care in the field or underwent evacuation died from wounds or disease.
The tremendous manpower needs faced by the United States during World War II created numerous new social and economic opportunities for American women. Both society as a whole and the United States military found an increasing number of roles for women. As large numbers of women entered industry and many of the professions for the first time, the need for nurses clarified the status of the nursing profession. The Army reflected this changing attitude in June 1944 when it granted its nurses officers' commissions and full retirement privileges, dependents' allowances, and equal pay. Moreover, the government provided free education to nursing students between 1943 and 1948.
Military service took men and women from small towns and large cities across America and transported them around the world. Their wartime experiences broadened their lives as well as their expectations. After the war, many veterans, including nurses, took advantage of the increased educational opportunities provided for them by the government. World War II changed American society irrevocably and redefined the status and opportunities of the professional nurse.
Early Operations in the Pacific
The Army Nurse Corps listed fewer than 1,000 nurses on its rolls on 7 December 1941, the day of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Eighty-two Army nurses were stationed in Hawaii serving at three Army medical facilities that infamous morning. Tripler Army Hospital was overwhelmed with hundreds of casualties suffering from severe burns and shock. The blood-spattered entrance stairs led to hallways where wounded men lay on the floor awaiting surgery. Army and Navy nurses and medics (enlisted men trained as orderlies) worked side by side with civilian nurses and doctors. As a steady stream of seriously wounded servicemen continued to arrive through the early afternoon, appalling shortages of medical supplies became apparent. Army doctrine kept medical supplies under lock and key, and bureaucratic delays prevented the immediate replacement of quickly used up stocks. Working under tremendous pressure, medical personnel faced shortages of instruments, suture material, and sterile supplies. Doctors performing major surgery passed scissors back and forth from one table to another. Doctors and nurses used cleaning rags as face masks and operated without gloves.
Throughout 1941 the United States had responded to the increasing tensions in the Far East by deploying more troops in the Philippines. The number of Army nurses stationed on the islands grew proportionately to more than one hundred.”
I am still very curious as to LT. Hoffman’s daily activity throughout 1942. Even though she was on the American mainland throughout, I’m sure it was a stressful yet gratifying work, the fruits of her education, study and training. An amazing young life taken far too young, but such was the case with so many involved with World War II and all conflicts for that matter.
One of the other unique findings seen while researching articles of LT. Hoffman’s funeral lies in the fact that her body was escorted back to Frederick by a LT. Gladys Beek. I wondered how the rest of her war experience played out? I started to go into that rabbit hole, but quickly jumped out and back on task.
LT Hoffman was buried on January 26th, 1943 in Area LL/Lot 162 next to her mother. Eight months later, her sisters would have the body moved to a spot roughly ten yards to the south in Lot 143. This would eventually be the resting place of Kathryn’s two sisters and their respective husbands. This move also facilitated the opportunity for their father to be buried alongside his first wife. In case you were concerned, Mrs. Lucy Hoffman is buried with Schwartz family members in Mount Olivet’s Area P.
Stories of 2LT Kathryn Hoffman and countless others laid to rest in Mount Olivet are priceless. I will never get tired of hearing about the people they call "the greatest generation." Those that put themselves in harm’s way, some making the greatest sacrifice, are the greatest of each generation in our country’s rich history. That’s why we must never minimize or forget the deeds of our veterans, long passed like Michael Engelbrecht and more recently with 2LT Hoffman. And don't forget those veterans who still live amongst us too.
Wreaths represent a circle of eternal life, symbolism dating back to Ancient Greece. This weekend they will be placed with care on over 3,400 graves. Thank you for your support in help making this happen each year.
Sometimes I’m simply inspired to write some of these “Stories in Stone” by the shape, size or uniqueness of a particular monument that catches my eye. This week’s blog follows that approach. When I first saw the grave memorial to Fanny Miller, I was intrigued by the design from a distance. As I approached to inspect closer, I learned that the decedent had passed on December 15th in the year 1888. On top of that, a unique piece of information came from the stone stating that Mrs. Miller had not died here locally in Frederick County, rather she had “breathed her last breath” in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
Information was scarce regarding Fanny Miller, although I quickly learned from our cemetery records that she was the wife of a Mr. D. S. Miller, and her cause of death was due to cancer. Her maiden name was Whitter, which I learned is also an intransitive verb which means “to chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length.” I may well follow suit here, as this article is not one that definitively tells the life story of a person, or family for that matter. Regardless, the cultural origin of the surname “Whitter” seems to derive from the United Kingdom.
One of the defining figures of this monument is that it is designed as an elaborate stand for an urn. This vessel is crafted atop the work, and is covered by a cloth. You will see many draped objects in the cemetery as the shroud is a general symbol of mourning, but it may also symbolize a parting of the veil between this world and the next. Drapery was also an outward expression of mourning in the Victorian era (1837-1901), as heavy black fabric would be draped throughout the homes of those in mourning.
A few of Fanny’s family members are buried under this monument in Area Q/Lot 70, and their names appear on two of the other three remaining “faceplates” on this memorial. These include her mother, Susan E. (Hane) Whitter, and half-brother Thomas Luther Whitter.
Fanny was born with the given name Ann in 1843 in Frederick, the daughter of Thomas W. Whitter and Susan (Hane) Whitter. She wouldn’t really know her father that well as he died in 1846. As a matter of fact, Fanny’s mother’s time with Mr. Whitter was somewhat brief as well as she had only married him on October 8th, 1842. Susan was Thomas’ second wife as his first, Mary W., had died on December 17th, 1840 according to diarist Jacob Engelbrecht. Mary was originally laid to rest in the town’s Methodist burying ground on the east side of town along Middle Alley between Third and Fourth streets.
As for Susan Whitter, she was born August 26th, 1812 in Frederick as the daughter of John Hane, Sr. (1776-1855) and Ann Margaret Bartgis (1780-1862). Both Fanny and her mom are found living with the Hanes in the 1850 census.
The Hanes were faithful members of Frederick’s German Reformed Church, today known as the United Church of Christ and located in the first block of W. Church Street. The elder Hanes likely worshipped at both iterations of the church which began in the footprint of Trinity Chapel with the stone tower dating to 1763 and steeple of 1807 on the south side of the street, before building a new, larger structure on the north side of Church Street in 1848.
It’s always worth talking about the religious roots of Frederick because these congregations were the glue that held the community together back in the early days when Frederick Town was literally on the western frontier of Maryland. Within this howling wilderness, when attacks by hostile Indian tribes were a real possibility, these religious institutions not only represented the spiritual hearts of the fledgling community, but also served as the educational and social centers for our residents. In addition, it’s also where the dead were laid to rest. I’ve talked before about the two previously established German Reformed graveyards once located in downtown Frederick. Well I guess, I should rephrase, as the second of these simply left in name only.
The second Evangelical Reformed Church graveyard began around 1802, and was abandoned in operation in 1924. In that year, this former burying ground would receive an above ground makeover, and became the site of the Memorial Grounds Park, on the corner of W. Second and N. Bentz streets. A bronze plaque was erected to remember the existing burials of hundreds of Frederick’s earliest setters and their descendants.
Today, these individuals still reside below the many war monuments that create the viewscape above ground. A number of these internments were originally at the Trinity Chapel churchyard, before being moved here. Fronting on N. Bentz Street, a plaque in Memorial Grounds Park contains 366 inscriptions from the two cemeteries. Two of these are the fore-mentioned John Hane, Sr. and Anne Margaret Hane, grandparents and parents, respectfully, of Fannie (Whitter) Miller, and her mother (Susan (Hane) Whitter).
The Frederick Directory City Guide and Business Mirror of 1859-60 includes the names of Mrs. Anna Margaret Hane and daughter Susan, both widowed, living on the southside of E. Patrick Street between Middle Alley and Chapel Alley. The census of 1860 shows Fanny living with her mother and grandmother here.
Just a few years later, on August 16th, 1862, it appears that Fanny was married, but not to the fore-mentioned Mr. D. S. Miller. On this date, she wed Jeremiah C. Grove. I found little on this gentleman outside the strong possibility that he was the same Jeremiah C. Grove who was born in Hagerstown around 1845, and enlisted in the Union Army in 1864. I found a few advertisements in the Frederick papers as Mr. Grove was the proprietor of a shoe business on the first floor of Mrs. Whitter’s home of E. Patrick. The first of these ads appears in 1863. However, in 1866, I found another newspaper notice signed by Susan E. Whitter that the business was closing in May, 1866.
I couldn’t discover exactly what happened but it seems that Jeremiah re-located to Illinois and was remarried in November, 1868 and lived out his life in Ogle, Illinois. So I’m thinking there was either a divorce or desertion at play here for our subject Fanny. I got this notion before seeing the shoe store ads, as I desperately searched for Jeremiah and Fanny in the 1870 census. I still never located Fanny, but I found a Jeremiah C. Grove married to a Margaret Neff, who spent her youth in Washington County and her father was born in Frederick. Maybe the rekindling of a childhood romance caused divorce or abandonment in the case of Fanny Whitter? Or maybe Fanny went out to Illinois with him and things fizzled out for the couple?
David Selsor Miller
As for another person living in the Midwest for the 1870 census, I did find David Selsor Miller working on a farm in Brookfield, Iowa in 1870. His father (David Selsor Miller, Sr.), was a wealthy man from Virginia with Miller grandparents who had emigrated from Scotland to Maryland's Prince Georges County in the 1600s. David, Sr. had died in 1855. David's mother, Sarah Bent Miller, passed in 1859. I would find that his legal guardian would advertise a land sale on his behalf in 1859.
In 1860, David was living in his native home of Pitt Township in Wyandot County, Ohio with his sister Maria’s (Mrs. Robert Taylor) family who owned a farm, quite possibly the Miller family farm. Interestingly, the census shows that David had $5,000 in real estate to his name, perhaps from that sale the previous year?
In the 1860s, Mr. Miller apparently did some other land speculating down south, while selling off some of his holdings in northwest Ohio.